November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Isolate Northern Gaza Strip

November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Isolate Northern Gaza Strip

Latest Developments

Israeli ground forces bisected the Gaza Strip on November 5, isolating northern areas where they are intensifying the war against Hamas. “Today there is north Gaza and south Gaza,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in a briefing after Israel’s 36th Armored Division reached the territory’s coast, having entered overland and crossed south of Gaza City.

Israel has been tightening its encirclement of the city, where some 80 percent of Hamas government and terrorist command centers are located. The IDF has called on remaining civilians to flee southward. For a second day, the IDF offered evacuees several hours of safe passage on the Salah a-Din highway leading to Khan Younis and Rafah.

Palestinians reported a blackout of telecommunications for the third time since the war began. Witnesses said Israeli aerial bombardments were being stepped up, including so-called “Belt of Fire” barrages, which entail setting off circular explosions around the locations of suspected Hamas tunnels and bunkers.

Separately, the IDF disseminated footage of Palestinian terrorist activity near Gaza hospitals, demonstrating Hamas exploitation of sites meant to be kept out of warfare.

Expert Analysis

“Bisecting the Gaza Strip is a tactic familiar from Israel’s 2008-2009 war there. But this time, it is a means rather than an end. Israel is methodically encircling Hamas while giving Palestinian civilians a chance to evacuate ahead of what promises to be an especially difficult fight deep in Gaza City, which Hamas has turned into a giant terror trap.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Reports out of Israel reveal that Hamas has started to fire rockets from the southern Gaza Strip. This is a clear attempt to use the safe haven of southern Gaza as a human shield for continued Hamas rocket attacks. Hamas continues to demonstrate complete disregard for the lives of the 2.2 million Gazans that it has governed until now. The group is making a good case for its own removal.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Unchallenged since it took over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has been involved in the rebuilding of the strip after every round of violence with Israel. The terrorist group has ensured that the new infrastructure — paid for with hundreds of millions of dollars from Arab countries and the broader international community — facilitates its war against Israel. Hamas has military assets spread out in its spiderweb of underground tunnel networks that prop up hospitals, mosques, and UN facilities. Taking this apart will be slow and painstaking for the IDF, but it is the only way to dismantle Hamas.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Hamas Attacks Israeli Soldiers as the IDF Prepares Safe Passage for Gazans on Main Highway,” FDD Flash Brief

Blinken Calls for ‘Pauses’ in Gaza War,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Tighten Net Around Hamas in Gaza City,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics