Israeli authorities have announced an adaptation to the IDF’s rules of engagement, allowing for a more decisive response to threats.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed Hamas commanders and bombed strategic targets, preparing for a possible ground incursion into Gaza.
In a significant operation against terrorist groups, on Sunday, the IDF confirmed the elimination of a senior Hamas commander, Billal al-Qedra, following meticulous intelligence work by the Shin Bet and the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Al-Qedra, a leader in Khan Younis, was directly linked to deadly attacks on Kibbutz Nirim and Nir Oz.
In response to the continued aggression, Israel carried out nightly airstrikes in Gaza, annihilating multiple Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. According to military sources, more than 100 locations were hit, including critical infrastructure for terrorist groups, such as command centers and missile arsenals.
The escalation follows the genocidal attack carried out by Hamas on October 7, which killed more than 1,300 people, predominantly civilians, and kidnapped approximately 150 to 200 people. In light of the imminent ground operation, the IDF has urged civilians in northern Gaza to move south, reiterating its commitment to minimizing civilian casualties and prioritizing the release of hostages.
In Sderot, a rocket set fire to a house on Sunday, coinciding with the evacuation phase. Although no injuries were reported, the city council emphasized that, while departure is not mandatory, it is strongly advised. Evacuees are being housed in Eilat, Jerusalem, with the option of Tel Aviv being offered.
In the context of these evacuations, it is estimated that around 7,000 homes are affected in Sderot alone, according to Ynet data. Simultaneously, in the north, the city of Metula has also suggested that its inhabitants relocate due to recent attacks from Lebanon, including an incident caused by Hezbollah that claimed the life of at least one civilian.
Additionally, the IDF reported a clash at Kibbutz Nir Am, where a Palestinian assailant was killed. This operation involved infantry and armor units, culminating in the neutralization of the terrorists after an exchange of fire.
In a major revelation, The New York Times detailed Israel’s plans to mobilize 10,000 troops for an offensive in Gaza to dismantle Hamas‘s infrastructure. This campaign, the most extensive since the 2006 conflict in Lebanon, aims to control sectors of Gaza temporarily. In response, Hamas spokesmen have warned of guerrilla tactics against the IDF.
Israeli authorities have announced an adaptation to the IDF‘s rules of engagement, allowing for a more decisive response to imminent threats. The primary focus falls on neutralizing the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, as confirmed by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht. “That man is in our sights. He is a dead man walking, and we will get to that man,” Hecht declared, underscoring the IDF‘s determination.
At the same time, hostage rescue is a critical priority. Regarding the complex network of tunnels in the Gaza Strip, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN that the captives are likely hidden underground. He acknowledged the difficulties of fighting in dense urban areas but reiterated that the IDF would prevent harm to civilians. “We are going to fight an enemy that uses civilians as human shields,” Conricus said, calling on residents of northern Gaza to heed evacuation instructions ahead of major military operations.
The IDF also refuted internationally circulated Hamas accusations that Israeli attacks on evacuees in the Gaza Strip reportedly caused more than 70 deaths. “It is a false report,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said at a press conference, accusing Hamas of manipulating information and using its citizens as human shields.
According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, the casualty toll indicates that Israeli airstrikes have resulted in approximately 2,329 Palestinians killed and 9,042 wounded. However, the IDF maintains that it has eliminated nearly 1,500 terrorists following violent incursions into Israeli territory, defending its strategic posture and its commitment to minimizing civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict.