After building up forces and waiting for the right moment, it appears Israel has begun the battle for Gaza City. The AP reports in The New York Sun:
DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battled Hamas and attacked underground compounds on Tuesday with a focus on northern Gaza, from which an estimated 800,000 Palestinians have fled south despite continued Israeli bombardment across the besieged enclave.
Buoyed by the first successful rescue of a captive held by Hamas, Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected calls for a cease-fire and again vowed to crush Hamas’ ability to govern Gaza or threaten Israel following its bloody October 7 rampage, which ignited the war.
The war has also threatened to ignite even heavier fighting on other fronts. Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have traded fire on a daily basis along the border, and Israel and America have struck targets in Syria linked to Iran, which supports Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups in the region.
The military said it shot down a drone outside Israeli airspace on Tuesday near the Red Sea city of Eilat, without providing further details. Earlier this month, an American Navy destroyer in the Red Sea intercepted three cruise missiles and several drones launched toward Israel by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
In the West Bank, where Palestinian-Arab violence has also surged, the army demolished the family home of a senior Hamas official, Saleh al-Arouri, exiled over a decade ago. The head of the local council in the village of Aroura, Ali Kaseeb, said the home had been vacant for 15 years.
An Israeli military spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, said ground operations in Gaza are focused on the north, including Gaza City, which he said was the “center of gravity of Hamas.”
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