IDF presses on in Gaza ahead of Rafah operation

Israeli forces continue to clear Hamas out of the Zeitoun neighborhood in preparation for a pilot program to empower local leaders to replace the terror group.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Israeli forces operating in the Gaza Strip on Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli forces operating in the Gaza Strip on Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: IDF.

The Israeli Air Force struck the source of rocket launches carried out from the central Gaza Strip at Israeli communities on Monday, the military reported on Tuesday.

An operational center that directed several of the launches was hit as well as a launcher used to fire several rockets. An additional operational center from which terrorists fired on Israeli forces was also destroyed.

Also in central Gaza over the past 24 hours, several terrorists were killed and dozens of weapons were located. In addition, IDF engineering forces demolished dozens of “strategic sites” belonging to Hamas.

Targeted strikes continue in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood, both from the ground and the air. IDF forces found a weapons manufacturing facility, rocket launchers and combat systems. Troops also destroyed a tunnel shaft and eliminated the terrorists inside.

Israeli forces are clearing Hamas terrorists out of the Zeitoun neighborhood in a weeks-long operation ahead of a pilot program in the district to empower local leaders to replace Hamas in governing the Gaza Strip and to end anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement in the education system.

Additionally, IDF troops are continuing their offensive in western Khan Yunis before the fighting moves to the southernmost city of Rafah along the Egyptian border, where four of Hamas’s remaining six battalions are concentrated.

Israel has destroyed 18 of the terror group’s 24 battalions so far.

Once the IDF launches the Rafah operation, it will be “weeks away from total victory,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News on Sunday.

The military on Sunday evening presented to the War Cabinet a plan to evacuate the city’s civilian population. The IDF also introduced its operational plan for the pending offensive in what Netanyahu has called “the last Hamas bastion.”

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, the premier addressed US concerns about the need for a plan to protect noncombatants.

“We do have a combined plan of evacuating civilians out of harm’s way and destroying those Hamas battalions,” said Netanyahu.

“I can tell you that Hamas will do everything in their power to make sure that we don’t evacuate those civilians. They try to stop them at gunpoint and often at gunfire, but that’s not going to stop us. We won’t give them immunity. We will get the population out. We will continue the job to achieve total victory,” he continued.