Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says range of means are being used to destroy Gaza tunnels with new techniques to be incorporated; IDF Chief of Staff says Israeli Air Force can reach anywhere in the Mideast.
By Yaakov Lapin
November 6, 2023
(JNS) — The Israel Defense Forces is intensifying its maneuvers in Gaza City against Hamas, military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stated on Monday, adding that the growing number of Hamas terrorists and field commanders being eliminated is creating pressure on the terrorist army that rules the enclave.
Addressing IDF efforts to demolish the underground terror tunnel network dubbed “the metro,” Hagari said that Hamas, which deliberately places tunnel shafts under hospitals, mosques, schools and humanitarian sites, is systematically losing its underground access.
“We are working — going from one tunnel to another, placing weapons there, and using a range of means to destroy this infrastructure, including through new ways soon,” said Hagari. “There is no place where Hamas will be free from IDF’s offensive capabilities.”
The terrorists recently eliminated field commanders who were personally involved in planning and orchestrating the Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,400 people in southern Israel by Hamas’s Nukhba Unit death squads.
“Eliminating these field commanders harms Hamas’s ability to counter attack, and shows a disconnect between the field level and the Hamas leadership,” said Hamas.
IDF infantry and combat engineering units are destroying tunnel shafts daily, he emphasized.
“We showed that Shifa Hospital has medical departments used by the Hamas field level and underground infrastructure that connect to ‘the metro,’” said Hagari, who denied a report that the IDF had struck a solar-energy site at the hospital in Gaza City.
Hamas’s use of the hospital as an operational command center is “a war crime,” he said, adding that the same things were taking place at Gaza’s Indonesian and Qatari hospitals.
The Israeli Air Force is striking within 200 meters of IDF ground forces as it provides precise aerial support to them, said Hagari. “It’s the same air force operating throughout the Middle East.”
In the north, fighter jets launched what Hagari described as a broad strike in Hezbollah, “also in response to 30 rockets fired,” he said in reference to a barrage on northern Israel up to Krayot, for which Hamas in Lebanon claimed responsibility. “We will continue to strike significantly for any attack on Israel. Air defenses will intercept threats.”
On Sunday night, the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, stated during a meeting in the Northern Command: “We are ready to strike in the north at any moment.”
The IDF is prepared to strike at Hezbollah, and “we understand that it can happen,” he said.
He also said families of the 240 hostages have been notified, in addition to the families of 348 families of fallen IDF soldiers since Oct. 7, he said.
‘We’ll start closing in on them’
Also on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved new operational plans against Hamas in Gaza City and northern Gaza, stating that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is “hiding in a bunker and letting Hamas commanders die.”
On the Israeli side, he said, commanders are leading their troops, standing on the frontline and making achievements on the ground.
“Just over the past day, we have eliminated both company commanders and battalion commanders, some of whom were expected to fill in for commanders we had eliminated one or two days prior,” said Gallant.
IDF International Spokesperson, Lt. Col Richard Hecht, said earlier on Monday that the military has created encirclement around Gaza City, “and then we’ll start closing in on them.”
Overnight, an IAF fighter jet—directed by intelligence provided by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and IDF—killed Wael Asefa, commander of Hamas’s Deir al-Balah Battalion in the Central Camps Brigade. Together with other commanders of the Central Camps Brigade, Asefa was responsible for sending Hamas Nukhba terrorists into Israeli territory on Oct. 7 and planned further rocket attacks on Israel, the military said.
Hamas targeted the Ashdod region with a rocket barrage on Monday evening, as well as areas north of Ashdod.
The IDF is continuing to make available a corridor for northern Gaza residents moving south. “There is high air coverage to make sure no one’s disturbing this. Hamas tried two days to fire on this and stop it. There are also [IDF] forces on the ground maintaining roadblocks and making sure people can move freely,” said Hecht.
“Anywhere we see Hamas activity, a green band and a terrorist, we will strike, period,” he added.
Addressing the need to strike Hamas’s base at Shifa Hospital, Hecht said: “We understand this is going to be one of our biggest challenges; when we get to it, we will see how we proceed operationally and tactically. This is why we are saying [to Gazans], move south. Our COGAT [Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] people are talking to them, telling them to move south.”
Overnight on Monday, IDF ground troops took control of a Hamas military compound in the Gaza Strip. It contains observation posts, training areas for Hamas operatives and underground terror tunnels. During the operation, several Hamas terrorists were killed.
Within the last day, IDF fighter jets struck more than 450 Hamas targets, including tunnels, terrorists, military compounds, observation posts and anti-tank missile launch posts.
The Israeli Navy also struck command centers, anti-tank launch posts and additional observation posts belonging to Hamas.
IAF fighter jets struck and killed additional Hamas terrorists, including Jamal Mussa, who was responsible for the special security operations in the Hamas terrorist organization.
Also on Monday, Halevi visited an F-35 fighter jet squadron, stating: “We know how to reach anywhere in the Middle East.”
He said: “We have been at war for a month now, we are inflicting severe damage to Hamas, damaging the leadership of Hamas, targeting the commanders, targeting the terrorists, destroying Hamas’s infrastructure in Gaza, and we are also constantly ready for other areas. This base knows how to reach anywhere in the Middle East.”
Former U.S. ballistic-missile subs dispatched
Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced on Monday that it had dispatched a guided missile submarine to the Mideast.
The U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, said the vessel in question was an Ohio-class submarine.
According to CNN, the U.S. Navy has four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines, adding that these “are former ballistic-missile subs converted to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles rather than nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.”
Each submarine can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, with each missile carrying up to a 1,000-pound explosive warhead.