December 4, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Set to Sweep Southern Gaza

December 4, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Set to Sweep Southern Gaza

Latest Developments

Israeli ground forces appeared set on December 4 to expand their sweep of the Gaza Strip into southern Hamas strongholds. Tanks are reportedly on the outskirts of Khan Younis, the biggest city in southern Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) appealed to civilians in Khan Younis to evacuate westward, to a designated safe zone on the coast, or toward Rafah on the Egyptian border.

Israeli officials have yet to formally announce a sweep of southern areas, saying only that operations were underway throughout the Gaza Strip. Many of the Hamas targets shelled by Israeli air, ground, and naval forces since a temporary pause in fighting ended on December 1 have been in the Khan Younis area.

So far in the eight-week-old war, the IDF has focused on Hamas terrorism and governance centers in Gaza City and outlying northern areas. District-to-district missions there continue, with three IDF soldiers killed in clashes on December 3, bringing total Israeli military losses in the Gaza ground campaign so far to 73.

Still, the commander of the IDF Armored Corps, Brig.-Gen. Hisham Ibrahim, said on December 4 that operations in northern Gaza were close to completion. “We are beginning to expand the ground maneuver to other parts of the Strip, with one goal: to topple the Hamas terrorist group,” he added in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio.

Expert Analysis

“Israel’s advances in Gaza have been impressive, their success attested to by the drastically reduced rate of cross-border rocket fire by Palestinian terrorists. But Hamas remains rooted, certainly in southern areas like Khan Younis and even in the northern areas where Israeli forces cannot yet be certain of having uncovered every underground position. For all the Western pressure being applied on Israelis to wrap up this war, they must proceed according to a schedule that will make their goals achievable while reducing risk to their troops and to Palestinian civilians whom Hamas continues illegally using as human shields.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Israeli military’s mission to advance into southern Gaza will encounter challenges due to the significant presence of terrorist organizations in cities like Khan Younis and Rafah. Additionally, it is highly likely that the top leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and their allies sought refuge in the south following the commencement of the war. Thus, the crucial task of eradicating Hamas and its allies in Gaza lies in the south.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas Terrorist Commander Killed in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Deepens Gaza City Push,” FDD Flash Brief

Blinken Sends Mixed Messages to Jerusalem,” FDD Flash Brief “Hamas Renews Attacks on Israel as Pause in Fighting Ends,” FDD Flash Brief


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