Israel said many Gazans understood that “Hamas is losing control” of the northern strip of land as its army increased its advance into Gaza City.
“We continue to increase our attacks on Gaza City and destroy tunnels near civilian infrastructure,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced on November 8. Gaza City is the largest city in the Gaza Strip and is believed to be a stronghold of Hamas.
“We are fiercely attacking Hamas’ air and sea combat groups, which are planning strategic attacks,” an IDF spokesman said, adding that Israeli forces captured about 700 projectiles.
Israel recorded 50,000 civilians evacuated from the northern Gaza Strip to the south. Mr. Hagari commented that they moved “because they understood that Hamas had lost control of the northern region.” “Hamas has and is continuing to lose more control over the northern areas of the Gaza Strip,” Rear Admiral Hagari said.
According to an IDF spokesperson, the number of hostages in the Gaza Strip is 239 people. He said this is not the final number because the IDF is collecting new information about the hostages, including identifying the bodies of the missing people.
On the same day, the IDF announced that the 252nd Sinai Reserve Division had deployed all units for military operations in the Gaza Strip. This is the first time Israel has fully deployed a combat reserve division in enemy territory since the 1982 Lebanon War.
Brigadier General Moran Omer, commander of the 252nd Division, declared this a “decisive moment” for the unit and the entire IDF reserve force. “We have been preparing for this for many years. Our current mission is to restore peace and security to our people,” General Omer said.
Nearly a week after announcing the expansion of military operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel surrounded Gaza City on November 2 and sent units into the city from two directions. IDF units are searching and destroying Hamas’s underground bunker system in the northern Gaza Strip, attacking many of the group’s positions.
Israeli officials said that the campaign in the Gaza Strip “will last at least several months to achieve the goal of eliminating Hamas” while minimizing casualties for Israeli forces and civilians in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, 33 Israeli soldiers have died since its advanced forces deeper into Gaza.