DELIBERATE RUSE? Israel surprises Hamas with incursion in southern Gaza despite “strong opposition” from the U.S. – or maybe it has America’s blessing all along
In a strategic and surprising turn of events, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) embarked on a 48-hour assault deep into southern Gaza, catching Hamas off guard. The attack happened despite America’s “strong opposition” to an Israeli invasion of the southern Gaza Strip.
The unexpected southern push by Israel has been a point of contention, raising questions about whether Israel defied U.S. advice or if there was a deliberate ruse.
Hamas did not anticipate this move, revealing a breakdown in their intelligence assessment. The surprise southern offensive, marked by attacks in the Khan Yunis region, where Hamas leadership is believed to have sought refuge, underscores Israel’s commitment to disrupting the organization’s command structure.
The city of Khan Yunis has become a focal point of the conflict. With many Israeli hostages possibly held there, Israel’s focus has shifted from negotiating their release to considering the possibility of a forceful intervention. (Related: Gaza Strip could prove to be a DEATH TRAP for assaulting Israeli forces.)
Reports suggest that the IDF has penetrated the southern Gaza Strip, advancing from the east toward the Mediterranean coast, effectively dividing Gaza into three sections: north, central and south.
Initial reports from Israeli army radio confirmed the launch of a ground operation by Israel to the north of Khan Younis.
The BBC subsequently verified images of an Israeli tank in operation near the city.
Confirming the ground incursion’s expansion across all of Gaza, an IDF spokesman noted troops engaging in face-to-face battles with terrorists.
Since the expiration of a week-long ceasefire on Friday, Dec. 1, Israel has intensified its large-scale bombing campaign on Gaza, described by Khan Younis residents as the heaviest wave of attacks thus far.
The prior seven-day truce had witnessed a complex exchange: Hamas released 110 hostages from Gaza, reciprocated by Israel releasing 240 Palestinians from its prisons.
Israel has turned southern Gaza hospital into a war zone
In response to heightened hostilities, the Israeli army issued evacuation orders on Sunday, Dec. 3, for several districts in Khan Younis, urging residents to leave immediately.
Israeli authorities believe the city is being used by members of the Hamas leadership as a hideout where hundreds of thousands of people have been sheltering after fleeing the fighting in the north in the early stages of the war.
James Elder, a United Nations official, has described a “degree of panic” he has not seen before in a Gaza hospital after the Israeli military shifted the focus of its offensive to the south. He described Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Younis as a “war zone.”
Simultaneously, Israel announced the elimination of Haitham Khuwajari, a senior Hamas commander allegedly involved in the October 7 terror attack on Israel.
The IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA) released footage of the airstrike that targeted and killed him. In response, Hamas launched dozens of rockets at various targets across Israel. However, speculation is mounting that Hamas might be emptying its arsenals to prevent the IDF from seizing rockets as they advance further.
Social media reports also suggest that morale among the Palestinian population is beginning to collapse due to the intensifying conflict and Israel’s strategic advancements.
In a notable shift, Israel is exploring the possibility of appealing directly to the residents of Gaza, urging them to rise against the Hamas leadership that governs the territory. This tactic could exploit internal dissent within Gaza, potentially undermining Hamas’ control.
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