October 30, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Expands Offensive Around Gaza City

October 30, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Expands Offensive Around Gaza City

Latest Developments

Israeli ground forces appeared to be encircling Gaza City on October 30, raising pressure on Hamas terrorists and their commanders. Israel is expanding ground operations using tanks, combat engineers, and infantry. Video circulated online by Palestinians showed an Israeli tank on Salah a-Din Road, the main thoroughfare connecting southern Gaza with Gaza City in the northern part of the territory. Regional Arabic media argue that this could isolate Gaza City and enable Israel to cut off Hamas control of it.

“Through integrated strikes of the Ground Forces and the [Israeli Air Force], dozens of terrorists were eliminated last night who had barricaded themselves in buildings and attempted to attack the forces that were moving in their direction,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Over the last three weeks of war, Israel has encouraged civilians to leave northern Gaza while dropping fliers asking for information on the 230 hostages Hamas holds. Israel has also dropped leaflets encouraging Hamas terrorists to surrender.

Expert Analysis

“This stage of the campaign promises to be especially difficult and bloody. It follows more than two weeks of public calls by Israel on Palestinian civilians to evacuate Gaza City and its environs and to head to designated refugee zones in the south. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of those civilians have heeded the call, according to Israeli estimates. It is to be hoped that the rest will now follow before Israeli ground forces are fully inside Gaza City and focused exclusively on fighting Hamas.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Cutting off Gaza City would divide the terrorist-controlled area into two parts and reduce Hamas’ ability to use human shields in northern Gaza since much of the population is now in the south. This will result in dwindling resources for Hamas terrorists who remain in the north.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Hamas Prevented Civilians From Fleeing Gaza

Hamas has prevented civilians fleeing northern Gaza. The terrorist group set up checkpoints and blocked main roads heading south last week prior to Israel’s expanded ground operation. The terrorist group also uses Gaza’s largest hospital as a command center and employs human shields in its operations. Israel has conducted three weeks of airstrikes against terror targets in the Gaza strip, including anti-tank missile launch sites and tunnels used by Hamas.

Building Pressure on Hamas

Closing in on Gaza City allows Israel to generate pressure on Hamas relating to the 230 hostages Hamas holds. “We are constantly assessing the situation and progressing gradually according to our operational plans. The offensive activity will continue with determination and intensify according to the phases of the war and its goals,” said Hagari. In addition, the ground operation also has discovered evidence of Hamas crime. The base of the skull of Shani Louk, a German-Israeli who was murdered at a music festival during the October 7 massacre, was found, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hamas Mounts New Israel Infiltration by Sea,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Declares Global War on Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Ex-Hostage Recounts Hamas Mass-Kidnapping Tactics,” FDD Flash Brief


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