In the midst of reports of a possible hostage deal and ceasefire, Israel is shifting its focus to the southern region of the Gaza Strip. The IDF has largely seized control of the northern Gaza Strip, but has only partially destroyed Hamas’ military capabilities and not yet captured or killed many prominent leaders. Some Hamas leaders are hiding in densely populated towns or underground tunnels, making them challenging to capture.
Senior security officials have indicated that many Hamas terrorists have fled southward, and some leaders are hiding in underground tunnels that are less damaged by air and around which there is less fighting than in Gaza City. The IDF aims to keep moving forward in the south to achieve its objective of eliminating Hamas. It is preparing to block the southern border with Egypt and protect civilians who have fled there. However, American officials urge Israel to delay its operations until plans for protecting civilians have been established. Palestinian citizens are becoming increasingly desperate, and measures must be taken to minimize harm to civilians.
The IDF has been working on strategies to block the tunnel network, destroy Hamas strongholds in the south, and minimize civilian casualties. Although progress will be slow, it remains determined to continue its operations in the southern region of Gaza Strip with the ultimate goal of eliminating Hamas and reducing threats to Israel. American officials urge Israel to reduce combat zones and make it clear where civilians can find refuge. The complexity of this situation cannot be denied, but Israeli forces remain committed to finding ways forward while taking into account ethical considerations outlined in Israel’s trust report.