December 22, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Move on Central Gaza     

December 22, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Move on Central Gaza     

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) asked residents of a town in the central Gaza Strip to evacuate on December 22, signaling new focus on the location of the ground offensive. The warning given to civilians in Al-Bureij came after Israeli media reported that the IDF entered nearby Nuseirat on December 21. There had previously been limited incursions in the area by Israeli forces. On October 24, the IDF killed Hamas leader Abed al-Rahman, deputy commander of Hamas’s Nuseirat Battalion, in an airstrike. Al-Rahman took part in Hamas’s massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.

The Israeli air force also bombed a site in the central Gazan village of Juhor ad-Dik from which the military said recent long-range missile launches had taken place. This is likely a reference to a December 21 salvo of at least 20 rockets fired by Hamas that forced residents of Tel Aviv and surrounding towns in central Israel to find shelter. Israeli troops also located a cache of weapons in Juhor ad-Dik.

Expert Analysis

“Central Gaza is more sparsely populated than the northern hub city of Gaza City or southern Khan Younis. But as the now-bombed missile silos demonstrate, Hamas has been using central areas to sustain its terror war. The Israeli offensive is due to downshift in the coming weeks to more pinpoint operations, but that first requires comprehensive control of the bulk of the territory,” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“As Israeli forces continue to dismantle Hamas in Gaza, pressure is building on the terror group to take broader action. Thus, it is imperative not to overlook the potential for Palestinian terrorist organizations to foment violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque and orchestrate attacks in the West Bank as a tactic to divert attention away from the fighting in Gaza.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

IDF Uncovers Network of Tunnels

The focus has been largely on the northern and southern Gaza Strip since the group operation began. The Israeli military said on December 20, that it discovered a system of tunnels beneath the main square of Gaza City used by high-ranking members of Hamas. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner described the tunnels as a “substantial, elaborate network of interconnected command control positions.” The IDF published footage that showed a tunnel entrance located at the residence of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar’s aide-de-camp. The tunnel was outfitted with electricity, a blast door, and various weapons. The Israeli army’s engineering corps are now working to dismantle these and other tunnels discovered by the IDF since the ground operation began.

IDF Uncovers Hamas Leadership Hub Under Gaza City,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Member Admits It Uses Hospital as Command Center,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Signals Shift to Underground Warfare,” FDD Flash Brief


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