Israel Defense Forces taking control in heart of Khan Yunis
Israeli soldiers operate against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo: IDF)

Troops encountered many Hamas terrorists and killed them using sniper fire, precision missiles and tank fire.

By Akiva Van Koningsveld
January 25, 2024

(JNS) — Israel Defense Forces troops continue to strengthen their operational dominance in the heart of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, the military said on Thursday afternoon, in a sign of progress towards establishing full control over the Hamas stronghold.

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza and one of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre of some 1,200 persons in Israel’s northwestern Negev region, is believed to be hiding in Khan Yunis, as is Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades “military wing.”

Since Sunday, the army has been mounting a massive military assault in Khan Yunis, killing dozens of terrorist operatives, including company commanders. The battle force includes parts of the IDF’s Givati Infantry Brigade, 7th Armored Brigade, paratroopers and commandoes.

On Tuesday, Israeli ground forces completed the encirclement of Khan Yunis, killing dozens of terrorists in the process.

During the advance into the city, troops encountered many Hamas squads and killed them using sniper fire, precision missiles and tank fire, the army said on Thursday.

In one instance, soldiers of the elite Egoz Unit identified three armed terrorists and deployed Iron Sting laser- and GPS-guided mortars, which were used for the first time late last year in Gaza.

Egoz Unit snipers killed several terrorists by using an undisclosed “deception method adapted to combating enemy cells that emerge from underground,” according to the IDF statement.

During a raid on terrorist infrastructure in Khan Yunis, Egoz troops killed four additional gunmen in close-quarters combat.

Maglan special forces operators in the city have been “eliminating terrorists in fierce battles, conducting target-based raids on terrorist targets and locating large quantities of weapons,” the IDF revealed.

Among other targets, Maglan commandoes seized control over the command center of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s intelligence head, as well as a Hamas base, where they confiscated weapons, tactical equipment including radios and night vision goggles, and intelligence documents.

Meanwhile, in central Gaza, an Israeli Air Force helicopter struck multiple terrorists hiding in terror compounds, while troops in Gaza’s north killed several terrorists and seized weapons.

Visiting the Gaza border on Thursday the occasion of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish “New Year of the Trees,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “deepen our roots in our land and uproot our enemies.”

“Hamas came to uproot us; we will uproot them. Hamas came to wipe us out; we will wipe them out,” the premier told soldiers and female observers from the 414th Battalion of the IDF’s Combat Intelligence Corps, which was devastated by the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attacks.

“On Tu B’Shevat, here, next to the Gaza Strip, I say as clearly as possible: There is no alternative to deepening our roots and there is no substitute for total victory over our enemies,” added Netanyahu as he planted a tree in honor of the holiday and in memory of fallen IDF soldiers.

“The most important thing is that we will continue to build up the [destroyed Gaza border] communities,” he said. “We will make them prosper, much more than previously, and we are committed to achieving total victory. Total victory means eliminating Hamas and returning all of our hostages—we will not give in on this goal.”

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