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Israel’s ground operation in Gaza may finish next month – CNN

US officials expect Israeli military activity targeting the south of the Palestinian enclave to end by January, the outlet said

FILE PHOTO: IDF soldiers guard near a waving Israeli flag near the Gaza border on October 10, 2023 © Getty Images / Getty Images / Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Stringer

Defense Forces (IDF) military activity may shift to a lower-intensity strategy that narrowly targets specific operatives and leaders in January, CNN has reported. According the outlet, the tactics of the operation would be similar to the US campaign against terrorist leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the same time, Washington is deeply concerned about further Israeli operations in southern Gaza. The US has warned West Jerusalem in “hard” and “direct” talks that the IDF cannot repeat the same destructive tactics it used in the north of the Palestinian enclave and must do more to limit civilian casualties, CNN said Tuesday, citing a number of unnamed senior US officials.

Israel accused Hamas on Friday of violating the operational pause and firing into Israeli territory, prompting the IDF to resume hostilities against the Palestinian military group in Gaza.

Under the truce, hostilities were suspended and humanitarian aid was allowed into Gaza, while Hamas released hostages in exchange for Israel’s freeing of Palestinian prisoners.

Read more Operation in south Gaza will be ‘no less powerful’ than in north – IDF

Amid the resumption of hostilities, the IDF ordered Palestinians to evacuate the largest city in southern Gaza, Khan Younis, and proceed to the Rafah district, which borders Egypt.

The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Gaza (UNRWA), Thomas White, said that “even in Rafah, where people are being forced to flee, the sound of airstrikes punctuates the day,” adding that they have “nothing to tell” people asking for advice on where to find safety.

White added that Rafah “will not cope” with a doubling of the displaced population, noting that there is not enough water and sanitation infrastructure, and that there are “thousands without shelter living in the open.”

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Monday that the Israeli army has been pursuing Hamas in northern Gaza and is now doing so in southern Gaza. “We will operate in maximum force against Hamas terrorists and infrastructures while minimizing harm to the civilians,” he added.

According to the Gaza government’s media office, the death toll has reached 16,000. On the Israeli side, the number of casualties stands at around 1,200 since the conflict escalated on October 7, with recent media reports saying that 82 IDF soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the ground operation.

West Jerusalem said 137 of its hostages remain in the enclave and that 108 were released by Hamas during the week-long ceasefire.


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