On Tuesday, Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, declared that Israeli forces now control the “aboveground area” of northern Gaza, signaling a significant development in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Gallant informed reporters that Hamas has lost control in this region, emphasizing the distinction between control above ground and the extensive network of tunnels below, where Hamas militants operate.
Despite gaining ground in the north, the Israeli military acknowledges the formidable challenge posed by the intricate system of tunnels, command posts, and supply depots created by Hamas. Since the start of the invasion on Oct. 27, Israeli forces have been strategically advancing into northern Gaza from various directions to encircle Hamas fighters, particularly in Gaza City, where intense street battles have unfolded. Civilians have been urged to evacuate the north and move southward, a directive followed by over a million people.
Responding to inquiries about future operations, Minister Gallant indicated that the combat plans presented to the Israeli cabinet before the ground invasion foresaw “long months” of fighting, encompassing both the northern and southern regions of Gaza.
Recent achievements by Israeli forces include securing control over key Hamas operational centers, such as government buildings, police headquarters, and an engineering facility linked to weapons production and development, as reported by the Israeli military. Some of these facilities, including the Governor’s Residence, were previously utilized by Hamas before the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel. Admiral Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that equipment, including weapons stolen by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack, was discovered within the Governor’s Residence. The Israeli military plans to examine these seized weapons.
The situation remains dynamic, with the focus shifting to southern Gaza as Israel prepares for what Minister Gallant foresees as an extended period of conflict against Hamas.