Israel says it has started de-escalating war: live updates | ET REALITY


Israel, which said over the weekend that it had successfully dismantled the Hamas military establishment in the northern Gaza Strip, said it was taking a different tactical approach in the south, where a population seeking safety there fears how it will turn out. The war will develop over the next few months.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Saturday that the military was working differently in central and southern Gaza, where most of the enclave’s population of about 2.2 million people are crowded together, including about a million evacuees from the north, than in the north. But he did not elaborate on what specifically would change, saying the change was based on lessons “learned from the fighting so far.”

In the northern half of the strip, where Israel began its ground invasion in late October, the military has “completed the dismantling of Hamas’ military framework,” Admiral Hagari said, although he added that forces are still operating there against the fighters. who continue the battle even after their command structure has been destroyed.

He added that fighting would continue throughout 2024.

Gabi Siboni, a colonel in the military reserves and a member of the conservative Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said Hamas maintained infrastructure above and below ground in the north, “so it is still a combat zone.” Despite the Israeli military’s achievements, Hamas is “a difficult and determined enemy” that has armed itself and “built underground fortresses” for years, he said.

“It will take time to completely dismantle it,” Siboni said, adding that fighting in the south is even more complicated by the density of the civilian population there, and may have to continue until 2025.

The Israeli military’s suggestion that fighting in Gaza would continue into the next year further terrified Gazans, who have already suffered severe losses in the first three months of the war: family, friends, neighbors, homes, jobs, schools and even, in an increasing number of cases, the ability to feed themselves.

“We face great danger, as unarmed civilians who have nothing to do with the resistance and do not carry weapons,” said Youssef, 32, a resident of Gaza City who has been displaced twice while trying to flee. the battles.

While the Israeli military successfully ordered many northern Gazans to evacuate further south in the early stages of the war (it is not known exactly how many), people in central and southern Gaza have nowhere to go except to huddle together. further into the interior of the area. the severely overloaded city of Rafah on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.

According to the United Nations, more than a million people are already crammed into the confines of Rafah. And people cannot return to the north: in addition to the continued bouts of fighting in northern Gaza, that part of the territory is largely in ruins.

A camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza, last week. People in central and southern Gaza have nowhere to go except to crowd further into the severely overloaded city.Credit…Saleh Salem/Reuters

The United Nations estimated in late December that around 65,000 homes across Gaza had been destroyed and nearly 300,000 more damaged, meaning more than half a million people will have no home to return to.

For those whose homes were still habitable, he said, many more would not be able to live in them immediately because Gaza’s infrastructure was so degraded and explosives left over from combat would make return too risky.

Meanwhile, displaced Gazans face increasingly desperate shortages of food, water and warm clothing and shelter from the winter weather. About half of Gazans are at risk of starvation, according to aid groups.

“There are children and there is no food or clothing, especially because it is winter,” Youssef said. “If we talk about suffering, I will need a long time to explain it.”

He added: “We have the right to return to our homes and see our children, to have food, water and drink, and to be safe.”

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