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War in Gaza: ten-hour battles and greater military deployment in the capital of the Strip

This Thursday’s war report details that, while Israeli soldiers fight meters from the important Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, which is supposed to house the senior leaders and main headquarters of Hamas in its basement, a ten hour battle in nearby Jabaliya with militiamen from that organization and the Islamic Jihad.

According to army reports, troops from the Nahal brigade finally took control of the place where they discovered tunnels that connect with “an extensive underground route”.

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The Minister of Defense announced it. “We are in the heart of Gaza City” where the headquarters of Hamas and its main leader, Yehya Sinwar, are located underground.

An Israeli soldier from the Corps of Engineers was reported dead, bringing the casualties to 35. There are two others injured. The information adds the reappearance of negotiations for an eventual release of a dozen of the kidnapped people by the terrorist group, half of them Americans.

At the site where that extensive battle took place, let us remember, there is a refugee camp. Israel attacked him on October 31 with two huge one ton bombs each one that collapsed buildings and underground caverns. The operation, which left fifty dead among the civilians sheltered in that place, eliminated Ibrahim Biari, a senior Hamas commander, and other members of the high command of that fundamentalist group, taking refuge in the tunnels below the surface.

A group of Palestinians examine the remains of a mosque collapsed by a bombing in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Reuters

These underground constructions constitute the big challenge of this battle, especially in Gaza City. The tunnels form a web of passages and chambers at great depth, which remain active with electricity and air equipment linked to fuel-powered generators. One of the reasons given by Israel for not allowing the entry of fuel into the Strip, which is crucial for drinking water plants and the operation of health centers.

The al Shifa hospital, the largest in the territory, has become the focal point of ground offensive of Israeli troops. Reports from journalists at the scene indicate that they can be heard from inside the city. the movement of soldiers and sporadic shootings very close to the health center.

This aggravated scenario triggers a new exodus of many of the neighbors who stayed despite the Israeli demand that they head to the south, where the humanitarian drama is growing geometrically and where there are also bombings. The Red Cross reported hours ago that three of its trucks with supplies were attacked and one of the drivers was injured.

“We have seen 50,000 Gazans leaving northern Gaza for the south,” said Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari. “They are leaving because they understood that Hamas lost control of the north and that the south is safer,” he added. The UN estimates at one and a half million the number of people displaced since the start of the war inside the Palestinian enclave, which has around 2.4 million inhabitants.

The pain in these Gaza women for the death of their relatives.  Photo: AFPThe pain in these Gaza women for the death of their relatives. Photo: AFP

Simultaneously United States attacked pro-Iranian militia positions in Syria again, in retaliation for rocket fire against US bases in that country and in Iraq. And it is indicated that there is fighting between North American troops and Syrian patrols.

In Gaza, both Hamas and the Al Shifa leadership They reject that the hospital building functions as a barracks of the terrorist organization, but since the start of this war, just over a month ago, Israel has stated that the group modernized some old tunnels and large caverns built in the past under that building.

The associated problem is that in that hospital thousands of people take refuge who have lost everything and trust that both schools and health centers can provide them with some safe coverage.

The United States and the G7, which brings together the most industrialized countries on the planet, have called for pauses in the war to facilitate the flow of supplies to the non-belligerent population. Israel rejects a total ceasefire as proposed by other organizations, including the United Nations. Washington agrees with that refusal. He maintains that it would allow Hamas to regroup.

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Images released by the Hamas military group show battles between al-Qassam Brigades fighters and Israeli ground forces in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sets a condition for easing fightings the return of the 242 captives that the terrorist organization kidnapped when it carried out the bloody assault on October 7 in which it harassed and killed in a matter of hours to more than 1,400 civiliansincluding the elderly and children.

Qatar, which is close to Hamas, is mediating in the possible release of the 12 hostages, but the fundamentalist group demands in exchange a three-day humanitarian truce. Israel does not seem willing to accept that duration of the ceasefire nor that the truce includes the north of the Strip where military operations are concentrated.

Netanyahu had opened the possibility of brief interruptions to operations by one or two hours after a new telephone conversation with President Joe Biden who demanded that gesture.

Hamas’ request would be an indicator of the difficulties faced by the group, which has not gotten help from its Hezbollah allies. Neither Iran or Syria They are interested in getting involved in the conflict beyond declarations.

Senior officials of the organizations, such as Khalil al-Hayya, the deputy of the main leader Yahya Sinwar, in an interview with The New York Times, claimed responsibility for the October 7 assault but noted that when they carried out the attack they expected the group’s regional allies, including the Lebanese militia, to join the fight. It hasn’t happened.

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