May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Announces Two Soldiers Killed, Concludes Jabaliya Operation

May 31, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Announces Two Soldiers Killed, Concludes Jabaliya Operation

Latest Developments

Two Israeli soldiers were killed during intense fighting in northern and southern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported on May 31. Reserve Sgt. First Class Adar Gavriel, 24, of Caesarea, was killed in Jabaliya after a Hamas terrorist hurled a grenade from a building at the IDF’s Bislamach Brigade’s 6828th Battalion as its troops scanned the area. IDF troops subsequently killed the terrorist. A second IDF soldier, Sgt. Yehonatan Elias, 20 — a member of the Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit — was killed during intense fighting in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Expert Analysis

“Reports out of Gaza — including both Israeli accomplishments against terror groups and the uptick in IDF casualties — underscore the unfinished nature of Israel’s mission in the coastal enclave. ‘Total victory’ in this war was always only going to come through a process of slowly but relentlessly eroding Hamas and its allies. If Israel wishes to prevent these entities from reconstituting and posing a renewed threat to its security, it will have to press on with degrading their capabilities.” David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

“Despite Israel’s significant military advantage, urban warfare in areas like Rafah remains fraught with risk. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups continue to exploit strategic tunnels, arming fighters with light weapons and anti-tank rounds. Moreover, the threat of booby-trapped tunnel shafts and buildings poses a significant risk to ground troops, making it challenging to navigate and neutralize these hazards effectively.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israeli Troops Reach Central Rafah

The IDF said on May 31 that its troops were operating in the Philadelphi Corridor — an eight-mile-long, 100-meter-wide strip of land between Gaza and Egypt — and on the outskirts of central Rafah. During the operations, the IDF said, troops exposed an “extensive Hamas subterranean tunnel network consisting of dozens of terror tunnels; dozens of rocket launchers; and dozens of RPGs, AK-47s and eliminated hundreds of terrorists.” According to the IDF, the operations have destroyed numerous tunnel shafts and underground infrastructure, including smuggling tunnels leading to Egypt. Israeli troops have also located and dismantled five rocket launchers that were ready to fire multiple rockets at Israel.

IDF Concludes Jabaliya Operation

Israel also said on May 31 that the IDF had completed its three-week-old operation in Jabaliya and withdrawn in order to prepare for their next mission. The IDF said that Hamas had turned the “civilian area into a fortified combat complex, fired at [Israeli] forces from shelters and schools, and established underground infrastructure in civilian buildings.” The IDF carried out more than 200 airstrikes in Jabaliya, killing between 500 and 600 terrorists, including a battalion commander. The IDF also seized hundreds of weapons and destroyed several weapons manufacturing sites and rocket launchers. Moreover, the IDF recovered the bodies of seven hostages killed and abducted by Hamas on October 7.

IDF unearths more tunnels, gains control of Philadelphi Corridor,” by Seth J. Frantzman

IDF Finds Terror Tunnel Near Rafah Crossing,” FDD Flash Brief

Three Israeli Soldiers Killed by Explosion in Booby-Trapped Gaza Building,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Eliminates Hamas Terrorist Who Used Police Role to Advance Terror Attacks,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Recovers Another Hostage’s Body from Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

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