Israel, which said over the weekend that it had succeeded in dismantling Hamas's military structure in the northern Gaza Strip, said it was taking a different tactical approach in the south, where residents seeking safety there feared how the war would end. The coming months.
Admiral Daniel Hagary said on Saturday that the military was operating differently in central and southern Gaza, where most of the enclave's population of about 2.2 million, including about 1 million evacuated from the north, was crowded out than it was in the north. But he did not explain what specifically would change, saying the shift was based on lessons “learned from the fighting so far.”
In the northern half of the Strip, where Israel began its ground incursion in late October, Admiral Hajari said the army had “completed the dismantling of Hamas’ military framework,” but added that forces were still operating there against fighters who continued to fight. The battle even after their command structure was destroyed.
He added that the fighting will continue throughout 2024.
Gabi Siboney, a colonel in the military reserves and a fellow at the conservative-leaning Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said Hamas has maintained infrastructure above and below ground in the north, “so it remains a combat zone.” He added that despite Israel's military achievements, Hamas is a “difficult and determined enemy” that has been arming itself and “building underground fortresses” over the years.
“It will take time to dismantle it completely,” Siboney said, adding that the fighting in the south is more complicated because of the dense civilian population there, and that it may have to continue until 2025.
The IDF's suggestion that the fighting in Gaza will continue throughout next year has further horrified Gazans who have already suffered heavy losses in the first three months of the war – family, friends, neighbors, homes, jobs, schools, and even, in increasing numbers. Of cases, the ability to feed themselves.
Youssef (32 years old), a resident of Gaza City who was displaced twice while trying to flee the fighting, said: “We face great danger, as unarmed civilians who have no connection to the resistance or carry weapons.”
While the Israeli military successfully ordered many Gazans in the north to evacuate south in the early stages of the war — exactly how many are not known — there is nowhere for people in central and southern Gaza to go, except to congregate further into the area. The city of Rafah, located on the southern border of the Gaza Strip with Egypt, is suffering from severe pressure.
The United Nations says that more than a million people are already trapped at the Rafah crossing. People cannot return to the north: coupled with ongoing episodes of fighting in northern Gaza, this part of the Strip is largely in ruins.
The United Nations estimated at the end of December that about 65,000 housing units across Gaza had been destroyed, and nearly 300,000 more were damaged, meaning more than half a million people would have no home to return to.
She added that for those whose homes are still habitable, many will not be able to live in them immediately because Gaza's infrastructure is so deteriorated, and explosives left behind by battles will make returning too risky.
Meanwhile, displaced people in Gaza suffer from severe shortages of food, water, warm clothes and shelter to cope with the winter weather. Aid organizations say about half of Gaza's population is at risk of famine.
Youssef said: “There are children, and there is no food or clothes, especially since it is winter.” “If we talk about suffering, I will need a lot of time to explain it.”
He added: “We have the right to return to our homes and see our children, to obtain food, water and drink, and to be safe.”
“Travel specialist. Typical social media scholar. Friend of animals everywhere. Freelance zombie ninja. Twitter buff.”