December 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Deepens Gaza City Push     

December 2, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Deepens Gaza City Push     

Latest Developments

Israel instructed Palestinian civilians in several districts of Gaza City to evacuate on December 2, signaling it would continue rooting Hamas out of those districts in parallel with new operations in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson gave residents of the Gaza City casbah and of the outlying Jabalia, Shajayia, and Zeitoun districts the evacuation notice on the second day of operations after a more than week-long truce with Hamas collapsed.      

The IDF said it has struck more than 400 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip from the air, ground, and sea since December 1, including more than 50 in Khan Younis, a southern town that is a focus of the expanded offensive.      

Expert Analysis

“Having quickly overrun Gaza City, the heart of Hamas terrorism and governance, Israeli forces are now bolstering that control with a focused, district-by-district mission. This will no doubt entail literally drilling down to uncover subterranean terrorist tunnels and bunkers — especially in Shajayia, a Hamas bastion. That all of this is being conducted in parallel to expanded Israeli operations in the southern Gaza Strip suggests the detailed and long-term seriousness of the war planning. Nonetheless, Israel is providing civilians with safe exits, this time conveniently close by, just a few roads away. If civilians ignore such an offer, at this stage of the fighting, or if Hamas prevents them from taking advantage of it, this would be little more than bloody-minded courting of civilian casualties in the hope of scoring points against Israel in world opinion.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The battles in central and south Gaza promise to be fierce. Hamas has spent the last week preparing for this battle. But the fighting continues in northern Gaza, too. This is where Israel successfully targeted a senior Hamas commander responsible for the attack on October 7. More high-value targets will almost certainly follow as the IDF closes in on the Hamas leaders who have not fled the fighting.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“The renewed fighting does not depart from the IDF’s previous operational strategy of conducting massive air and artillery strikes against its targets before sending in ground forces. With both Hamas and IDF forces having repositioned and regrouped during the eight-day pause, the IDF strategy helps prevent unneeded casualties to its forces in the new stage of the war in northern and southern parts of Gaza.” Jacob Nagel, FDD Senior Fellow

Israel Evacuated Palestinian Civilians Throughout the War

In the first part of the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians from the northern Gaza Strip relocated to southern areas along humanitarian corridors set up by Israel. By contrast, the new evacuation order for Gaza City directed civilians to shelters within or just to the west of the city. Most civilians in Gaza City and other areas of the northern Gaza Strip evacuated southward long ago. Those who remain are held in place by Hamas terrorists or support them.

Hamas Renews Attacks on Israel as Pause in Fighting Ends,” FDD Flash Brief

Residents of Hamas Stronghold In Southern Gaza Urged to Evacuate,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas,” FDD Insight

Hamas officials admit its strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields,” by Natalie Ecanow


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