Israel takes out another top Hamas commander

Israel takes out another top Hamas commander as IDF tanks rumble into the heart of key city in Gaza amid warnings relentless bombing is ‘narrowing window’ for new ceasefire

Israeli forces said they killed another top Hamas commander in an airstrike on Gaza as Israeli tanks sought to push further into the heart of the key city of Khan Younis.

Emad Krikae, who specialised in training Hamas terrorists in anti-tank warfare within the Gaza City Brigade, was ‘eliminated’ in an airstrike, the IDF said.

It comes as Israeli forces pushed further into the southern city of Khan Yunis today, fighting terrorists in intense street battles in some of the fiercest combat of the two-month war. 

The focus of the conflict has shifted to the besieged territory’s south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes.

But the relentless bombing, which has killed 18,000 Palestinians according to Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, is ‘narrowing the window’ for a new ceasefire to be agreed upon, Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.

Israel has pledged to keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, dismantles its military capabilities and returns all of the scores of hostages still held by Palestinian militants after being captured during the October 7 surprise attack into Israel that ignited the war.

sraeli soldiers operate with an APC at the Shajaiya district of Gaza city amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip on December 8 

Palestinians injured in Israeli airstrikes arrive at El-Aqsa Medical Hospital on December 10, 2023 in Dair El-Balah, Gaza

Photos from the fighting of the IDF forces in the Gaza Strip

Emad Krikae, who specialised in training Hamas terrorists in anti-tank warfare within the Gaza City Brigade, was ‘eliminated’ in an airstrike, the IDF said

The US has provided unwavering diplomatic and military support for the campaign, even as it has urged Israel to minimize civilian casualties and further mass displacement.

Residents said there was heavy fighting in and around the southern city of Khan Younis, where Israeli ground forces opened a new line of attack last week, and battles were still underway in parts of Gaza City and the built-up Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, where large areas have been reduced to rubble.

‘The situation is extremely difficult,’ said Hussein al-Sayyed, who is staying with relatives in Khan Younis after fleeing Gaza City earlier in the war. ‘I have children and I don’t know where to go. No place is safe.’

He and his three daughters are staying in a three-story home with around 70 others, most of whom have fled from the north, and said they have been rationing food for days. ‘Over many days, I have eaten just one meal a day to save food for the girls. They are still young,’ he said.

Another Khan Younis resident, Radwa Abu Frayeh, witnessed heavy Israeli strikes around the European Hospital, where the U.N. humanitarian office says tens of thousands of people have sought shelter. She said a strike hit a home close to hers late Sunday.

‘The building shook,’ she said. ‘We thought it was the end and we would die.’

With very little aid allowed in, Palestinians face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods. Some observers openly worry that Palestinians will be forced out of Gaza altogether in a repeat of the mass exodus from what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation.

‘Expect public order to completely break down soon, and an even worse situation could unfold including epidemic diseases and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt,’ U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a forum in Qatar, a key intermediary, on Sunday.

Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, called allegations that Israeli intends mass displacement from Gaza ‘outrageous and false.’ But other Israeli officials have discussed such a scenario, raising alarm in Egypt and other friendly Arab countries that refuse to accept any refugees.

At the same time, it’s not clear when or if Palestinians would be allowed to return to Gaza City and much of the north – home to some 1.2 million before the war – where entire neighbourhoods have been flattened.

The fighting in and around Khan Younis threatens to bring similar destruction to the south, and has already pushed tens of thousands toward the town of Rafah and other areas along the border with Egypt. It has also hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid to most of Gaza, putting even more pressure on people to head south.

It comes as Hamas threatened to execute hostages unless Israel meets its demands, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to the terror group to surrender immediately or face certain death.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida made a chilling threat to Israel and what he called ‘its arrogant leadership’ on Sunday, vowing that it would not get its hostages back alive ‘without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance.’

Palestinian detainees sit in a truck as Israeli soldiers stand guard and smoke rises in the background

A military truck packed with stripped and blindfolded Palestinians who Israel has called ‘terror suspects’, without providing evidence

Smoke rises as Israeli artillery units and howitzers stationed in the military zone launch attacks near the Gaza border in Nahal Oz, Israel on December 10, 2023

Yahya Sinwar, who has been dubbed Gaza’s Bin Laden, is reportedly in hiding at an address in Khan Younis – a southern city being encircled by IDF troops

As the two sides traded blows, hopes for a ceasefire were wearing thin, with Israel hinting that it is willing to continue its bitter fight for months or longer to completely eradicate Hamas and mediator Qatar saying willingness to negotiate is fading. 

Over 100 women and children being held by Hamas were freed during a weeklong ceasefire late last month, which saw three Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails for every one hostage handed back. 

On Sunday night, ​Netanyahu called on Hamas to ‘surrender now’ and warned that ‘it is the beginning of the end’ for the terror group.

As Israel’s relentless military offensive in Gaza continues to rumble on, the IDF has hinted it is closing in on top Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, its number one target who is dubbed ‘Gaza’s Bin Laden’.

Reports suggest Sinwar is in hiding at an address in northwest Khan Younis, a southern city being encircled by IDF troops. 

In a televised statement this evening, Netanyahu declared: ‘The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas. I say to the Hamas terrorists: It’s over. Don’t die for Sinwar. Surrender now.’ 

Despite suggestions that Hamas was close to ‘disintegrating’, national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, hinted that the war could continue for months, with key ally the United States not setting a deadline for Israel to achieve its goals. 

‘The evaluation that this can’t be measured in weeks is correct, and I’m not sure it can be measured in months,’ he told Israel’s Channel 12.

Israel has pressed ahead with its offensive after the US blocked the latest international efforts to halt fighting and rushed more munitions to its ally. 

Heavy fighting raged in and around Khan Younis over the weekend, with the IDF warning civilians to flee the centre, with the humanitarian situation becoming increasingly dire as thousands seek shelter in a shrinking area of the south of Gaza.

Qatar, where Hamas’s top leadership is based, said it was still working on a new truce like the week-long ceasefire it helped mediate last month that saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinian prisoners and humanitarian aid. 

But hopes for a new ceasefire are fading as mediator Qatar said today that there is a ‘narrowing’ window to secure a truce, while vowing that it would continue to put pressure on both sides to halt the violence.

Palestinians are inspecting the damage to a residential building in Al-Zawayda, in the central Gaza Strip, following an Israeli airstrike on Sunday 

Relatives mourn over the bodies of members of the al-Jabri family who fled from Khan Yunis and of the Sobeh family who were killed during Israeli bombardment, at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip on Monday 

Israeli soldiers operate with a tank at the Shajaiya district of Gaza city on December 8 

Hitting out at Israeli claims that Hamas is on the brink of extinction, the terror group boasted of success in their fight with Israel, brushing over its significant losses.

Izzat al-Rishq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, said history would ‘remember Gaza as the clearest of victories’ for the Palestinian group. 

‘The end of the occupation has begun in Gaza,’ Rishq insisted, despite sharing no evidence of this and there being no sign that Israel is letting up in its onslaught.

The IDF continued its onslaught against Hamas on Sunday as dozens more terror suspects were pictured bound, stripped and lined up on their knees.

Footage shared by Israeli media shows Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops rounding up scores of men and transporting them on the back of trucks.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that leaked footage and photos showing troops detaining Palestinian men in northern Gaza was not distributed by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

He added that while ‘dozens’ of the detained men are Hamas fighters, many others are uninvolved civilians.

The detained men are believed to have surrendered in the Jabalia refugee camp and other areas around northern Gaza. 

One clip shared to social media shows Palestinian men lined up against a wall.

One man then steps forward to give his assault rifle to the Israeli troops with his hands in the air, while others behind him hold their up their identification cards.

The UN estimates 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.4 million people have been displaced from their homes – roughly half of them children.

Israel had urged people to seek refuge in the south, but after expanding the war to include southern targets, there are few safe places for civilians to go.

Humanitarian organisations continued to press Israel for greater protection of civilians in the conflict.

Mapping software deployed by Israel’s army to try to reduce non-combatant deaths was condemned as inadequate Sunday by Lynn Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

‘A unilateral declaration by an occupying power that patches of land where there is no infrastructure, food, water, health care, or hygiene are ‘safe zones’ does not mean they are safe,’ she said.

Only 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are functioning at any capacity, according to the United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA.

‘Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing,’ said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as the agency called for immediate, unimpeded aid deliveries.

Israel’s army chief Herzi Halevi said Sunday his troops were using ‘significant force’ in Gaza, hailing ‘significant achievements’ in the war.

The army told AFP on Monday that 101 soldiers have died in the Gaza ground offensive, and previously put the number of wounded at around 600.

It said Sunday it had struck more than 250 targets in 24 hours, including ‘a Hamas military communications site’, ‘underground tunnel shafts’ in southern Gaza, and a Hamas military command centre in Shejaiya in Gaza City.

Some 7,000 ‘terrorists’ have been killed, according to National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

‘Hamas should not exist, because they are not human beings, after what I saw they did,’ Menahem, a 22-year-old soldier wounded on October 7, told AFP during a military-organised tour that did not allow him to give his surname.

Source: Read Full Article