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Israel's Defense Ministry reports reduced intensity of ground offensive in Northern Gaza

On January 15, 2024, Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that the intense phase of their ground offensive in northern Gaza is nearing its end. Since October 7, 2023, the Gaza conflict has intensified with Hamas attacks on Israel leading to Israeli retaliatory strikes, resulting in over 24,000 Palestinian deaths, significant infrastructural damage in Gaza, and widespread displacement and humanitarian crisis in the region.
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Israeli Army Merkava tank deployed in the Gaza Strip. (Picture source: IDF )

On January 15, 2024, Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that the intense phase of their ground offensive in northern Gaza is nearing its end.

Gallant mentioned that Israeli forces are now focusing on dismantling remaining areas of resistance using various tactics, including raids, airstrikes, and special operations.

This development coincides with a video released by Hamas claiming the deaths of two Israeli hostages, attributing their demise to Israeli airstrikes. The issue of hostages has become a significant concern in Israel, leading to increased public pressure on the government for their release. However, Gallant has dismissed the idea of a ceasefire, asserting that only through sustained military action can negotiations and the release of hostages be achieved.

Additionally, Gallant said that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have begun a strategic withdrawal and redeployment of forces, with the 36th Division leaving Gaza for rest and training, while three divisions continue operations in different areas of the Strip. This move is part of a broader strategy preparing for a prolonged conflict in Gaza and potential escalations along the Lebanon border.

Detailing the next stage of the conflict, Gallant further explained: "In both regions, we will soon transition to the subsequent phase. Our operations are being continuously adjusted to align with the evolving ground realities, guided by our military successes, the dismantling of enemy forces, and intelligence insights." The Israeli army has previously reported a scaling back of its troop presence in the Gaza Strip.

The conflict in Gaza has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations reporting approximately 23,968 casualties, predominantly among Palestinian women and children. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed grave concerns about the potential for widespread starvation and disease among the over one million residents of Gaza. Efforts to provide humanitarian aid have been largely unsuccessful, with ongoing combat and logistical obstacles impeding the delivery of essential supplies.

The Israeli military anticipates the continuation of its operations in Gaza throughout 2024, focusing on the southern Khan Younis area. The conflict has significantly impacted the Israeli military as well, with reports of 189 soldiers killed and 1,099 wounded since the start of the ground offensive. It is also estimated that 132 hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza.

The situation highlights the extended and complex nature of the conflict, affecting both military personnel and civilians in the region.

Hamas Israel War 2023

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