As reports of a possible hostage deal and ceasefire swirl, Israel is shifting its focus to the south of Gaza Strip, where it expects to face the most difficult phase of the war. The IDF has largely succeeded in taking control of the northern Gaza Strip but has only partially destroyed Hamas’ military capabilities and not yet captured or killed many of its prominent leaders. Some Hamas leaders are hiding in densely populated towns or underground tunnels, making them difficult to capture.
The IDF has announced plans to attack Hamas in the south, which will likely be similar to their advance in the north but more complex due to the large number of civilians crowded into the area. Senior security officials have signaled that many Hamas terrorists have fled there and some leaders are hiding in underground tunnels, which are less damaged from air strikes and around which there is less fighting than in Gaza City to the north. According to the IDF, Hamas will be a more determined enemy in the south, and their goal is to eliminate them entirely.
To protect civilians who have fled to the south to escape fighting in the north, Israel is preparing to block its southern border with Egypt and is ready for any potential threat. However, American officials are urging Israel to delay its operations until plans for protecting civilians have been put in place. The situation on the ground is complex, and measures must be taken to reduce harm to civilians. Palestinian citizens have become increasingly desperate as they seek refuge from fighting in Gaza City’s north. The complexity of this situation is undeniable, and Israeli forces continue to plan and prepare for continued operations while striving for a diverse and respectful discourse that aligns with Israel’s trust report ethics.