Israel push deeper into Gaza & Hamas
KHAN YOUNIS, the Gaza Strip On Monday, Israeli ground forces advanced further into Gaza, liberating a soldier who had been imprisoned by Hamas terrorists and moving forward with tanks and other armored vehicles on the territory’s capital. Even as airstrikes fell close to hospitals where thousands of Palestinians are taking refuge next to the injured, the Israeli prime minister ignored pleas for a cease-fire.
The first female soldier to be saved in Gaza since the start of the conflict weeks ago, the IDF claimed, was taken prisoner during Hamas’ ruthless Oct. 7 raid. Pvt. Ori Megidish “is doing well,” according to a statement that indicated she had met with her family despite the lack of specifics.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed a warm welcome upon her return and highlighted the “achievement” by Israel’s security forces, emphasizing their commitment to freeing all the hostages.
He firmly rejected any calls for a cease-fire to facilitate the release of captives or bring an end to the war, citing its anticipated duration and challenges. During a press conference, he firmly stated, “Calls for a cease-fire are tantamount to Israel surrendering to Hamas, a scenario that we adamantly refuse to entertain.”
Prime Minister Benjamin
He further stated his intention to remain in office despite the growing dissatisfaction regarding the failure of Israel’s esteemed security forces to avert the most significant unforeseen assault on the nation in fifty years.
It is believed that Hamas and other militant organizations are currently detaining approximately 240 individuals, which includes men, women, and children. As Israel continues its relentless military campaign to dismantle Hamas and bring an end to its reign over the region, there is mounting pressure on Netanyahu to secure the release of these captives.
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Hamas, the group responsible for the release of four hostages, has indicated their willingness to free the remaining captives in exchange for the release of numerous Palestinian prisoners, including those involved in lethal attacks on Israelis. Israel has rejected this proposal, with Prime Minister Netanyahu suggesting that the ground invasion may create an opportunity to secure the release of the hostages through pressure on Hamas.
On Monday, Hamas shared a brief video allegedly featuring three additional female captives. In the video, one of the women delivers a short statement, potentially under coercion, expressing criticism of Israel’s handling of the hostage crisis.
The timing of the Hamas video remains uncertain, as The Associated Press typically refrains from providing details about hostage videos to avoid promoting propaganda. The Israeli military has been vague regarding its operations within Gaza, including troop numbers and locations.
Despite deploying a significant number of troops to the border, Israel has not officially declared a full-scale ground invasion. Recent activities, including extensive ground operations in northern and eastern parts of Gaza City, suggest a particular focus on the city.
Gaza City is believed to be the location of a significant portion of Hamas’ forces and militant infrastructure, including extensive tunnel networks. Before the conflict, Gaza City was home to over 650,000 people, comparable to that of Washington, D.C.
Although Palestinians were directed to evacuate the northern areas where Gaza City is situated and move south, hundreds of thousands have remained due to Israel’s bombardment of so-called safe zones. As a result, approximately 117,000 displaced individuals seeking shelter from airstrikes are currently residing in hospitals in northern Gaza, alongside patients and staff, according to U.N. figures.
The U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) reports that nearly 672,000 Palestinians are seeking refuge in its schools and other facilities throughout Gaza, which are now four times beyond their intended capacity.
The Gaza Health Ministry stated on Monday that the death toll among Palestinians has surpassed 8,300, primarily consisting of women and children, marking an unprecedented figure in decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over 1.4 million people in Gaza have been displaced from their homes. On the Israeli side, the death toll stands at over 1,400, predominantly comprising civilians who were killed during Hamas’ initial attack, also an unprecedented figure.
Gaza Health Ministry
Video footage circulating on social media captures an Israeli tank and bulldozer blocking the main highway of central Gaza, which the Israeli military has previously suggested Palestinians use to evacuate to the south.
In the video taken by a local journalist, a car approaches an earth barrier on the road and is forced to stop and turn around. As it drives away, a tank appears to open fire, resulting in an explosion engulfing the car.
The journalist, in another vehicle, flees in terror, urgently imploring an approaching ambulance and other vehicles to turn back. The Gaza Health Ministry later confirmed that three individuals were killed in the targeted car.