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Indiscriminate Israeli bombings on Gaza continue. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli military initiated on Thursday a ‘surprise military operation’ in the central Gaza Strip led by the 162nd Division, citing precise intelligence guidance. 

The Israeli army said in a statement that the operation includes airstrikes targeting what they termed as “terrorist” sites both above and below ground in central Gaza. 

Additionally, naval forces have conducted multiple attacks along the coastal area to support ground forces. 

The statement added that rocket launching pads were discovered during the operation.

The operation involves the combat groups of the 401st Brigade and the Nahal Brigade, along with other units under the command of the 162nd Division. 

The Israeli Army Radio reported that the operation began near the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza with a series of airstrikes.

Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich emphasized the need to escalate operations in Rafah, Deir al-Balah, and Nuseirat. 

The Israeli army is “acting and continuing to work,” Smotrich said, according to Al-Jazeera.

Addressing a potential ground attack on Rafah, Smotrich said that Israel “must increase military pressure”.

Withdrawal from Khan Yunis

Israeli military spokespersons announced on Sunday the withdrawal of ground forces from the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported.

Israeli Army Radio reported that the 98th Division, comprising three brigades, withdrew from the Khan Yunis area after four months of conflict, with the Nahal Brigade remaining in the Netzarim Corridor to control movement between northern and southern Gaza.

“The 98th Division, with its three brigades, withdrew from Khan Younis last night after the end of the operation there after fighting that lasted four months,” the Army Radio reported.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv confirmed that only one brigade remains in Gaza to prevent Palestinians from returning northwards. 

Israeli Channel 12 revealed on Wednesday a contentious cabinet meeting where disagreements arose between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some ministers on one side and Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy on the other, regarding the delay in the anticipated military operation in Rafah.

‘Forced to Withdraw’

Al-Qassam Brigades announced in a statement that Israeli forces were forced to a premature withdrawal from various areas, due to successful operations carried out by the Palestinian Resistance.

The military wing of the Hamas movement said that the occupation entered most areas of the Gaza Strip and destroyed them completely, praising that it had succeeded in dismantling the Brigades.

However, according to the statement, every time the Israeli army returned to areas that were supposedly under its control, it was surprised with qualitative resistance operations.

The Brigades added that the Israeli occupation army was forced to end its operations even before achieving its goals.

The announcement of the withdrawal from Khan Yunis comes after an operation carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades on Saturday, which reportedly killed 14 Israeli soldiers and injured many more.


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