The IDF announced on Wednesday that its troops secured control over Hamas’ “Elite Quarter” in the center of Gaza City, including the area of the ‘Palestine Square’, from where Hamas’ administrative and military leadership operated, Arutz Sheva reports.
The complex includes a large network of tunnels that connects terrorist hideouts, bureaus, and residential apartments belonging to Hamas’ senior leadership. This complex, both above and below ground, was a center of power for Hamas’ military and political wings, Arutz Sheva reports.
The 401st Brigade in the 162nd Division, along with the Shaldag tunnel rats, Yahalom combat engineers and Shayetet 13 special forces, have been operating in Rimal area in Gaza City, where ‘Palestine Square’ is located. The forces carried out a combined and coordinated offensive on ‘Palestine Square’ and took operational control over the area. Over the last few days, the area was completely secured, securing booby traps and removing IEDs. IDF forces eliminated approximately 600 terrorists in both ground and aerial operations, Arutz Sheva reports.
‘Palestine Square’ was a center of Hamas’ military rule and is surrounded by buildings that served as command and control centers, terror tunnel shafts, and strategic buildings belonging to the organization. This military infrastructure was located in the direct vicinity of commercial stores, government buildings, civilian residences, and a designated school for deaf children. The square is the center of the strategic tunnel network of some of Hamas leadership’s strongholds and connects to the underground infrastructure in the area of the Rantisi Hospital and the Shifa Hospital, according to Arutz Sheva.
After the area was secured, a “sweep and clear” operation revealed an underground terrorist city, which is part of Hamas’ tunnel system. Tunnel shafts leading to the network of tunnels are located in the residences and offices of senior officials and allow for a covert descent through designated elevators and stairs. This enabled Hamas operatives to escape or remain in hiding for extended periods. The underground tunnel network includes blast doors and hideouts. Food, water, and electrical infrastructure were found, allowing for prolonged stays.
This network was used by the organization’s senior officials, Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif, and others, to direct Hamas’ operational activity. It was also used for protected daily movement through the heart of Gaza City, Arutz Sheva writes.
Hamas also established a specialized workshop for digging and building the underground network in the area. A tunnel shaft used for logistics and tunnel construction equipment, including tunnel walls and concrete arches that make up the tunnel ceilings, were found inside the workshop. Next to the workshop is a shaft 20 meters deep, with descending spiral stairs, as well as a blast door and forks in the tunnel’s pathway. The tunnel shaft was demolished by explosives embedded by Hamas there, and numerous weapons and technological devices were found nearby.
Over the last day, dozens of Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked some 230 Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including in the Khan Yunis area in the south, where a fighter jet destroyed a compound and eliminated the terrorists inside, and in the area of Al-Shati Camp in the coastal north, JNS reports.
Furthermore, a launcher loaded with rockets aimed at Israeli territory was located and destroyed in the Khan Yunis area. In Jabalia in the north of the Strip, Israeli soldiers facilitated the orderly evacuation of civilians from a school complex southwards, and found weapons in the school.
Desperate to survive, Hamas terror squads in Gaza are now forced to hunt animals for food, Jewish Press reports: Arab sources inside the Strip, including those with access to Hamas’s communications network, painted a grim picture to the Tazpit Press Service.
“A large part of the Hamas terrorists are in a state of starvation, and this is what led to a series of cases in which the Hamas terrorists preferred to surrender and raise their hands,” one Gazan told TPS according to Jewish Press.
One source reported that the terrorists are forced to hunt animals outside the tunnels and drag them to the shafts. The basic menu Hamas provides its people today is soup and bread, TPS was told.
The evidence also shows that many Hamas operatives are in a severe psychotic state. TPS was told they are heard on the communication networks mumbling indistinct words, seeming to have lost their sanity.
Some terrorists are now trying to escape to the Rafah area because it is close to the Egyptian border. They hope to eventually escape to the Egyptian Sinai, TPS writes. But the routes to Rafah are not safe, so other Hamas operatives are making their way to Khan Yunis. Khan Yunis is the second largest city in the Strip and is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, whose family lives there.
Regardless of which place they flee, the terrorists feel their backs are against the wall as they are continually pushed further south.
One Gazan warned TPS that “Hamas may blow up the Rafah crossing to cause masses of Palestinians to flee into Egypt and drag Egypt and Israel into a political crisis…”
Another source in the Strip said the Iran-backed terror group feels especially betrayed by Hezbollah.
“Hamas is in a difficult situation also in light of the lack of a significant response from Hezbollah.” Hamas he, said, had pinned its hopes on Hezbollah opening a second front along the Israel-Lebanon border.
“Hamas’ leadership abroad is in serious trouble, even in Qatar, and is no longer secure,” he added, accoring to Jewish Press.