The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has pushed partially into the Gaza Strip early this week, in what could be the start of the awaited ground offensive in the territory. The Israeli military claimed some success from the initial raids, including the killing of a Hamas commander.
IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Monday that the Israeli military killed four senior Hamas officials. This included a naval commander, two anti-tank commanders and a senior production official.
“The IDF forces, guided by accurate intelligence information from the Amman and the Shin Bet, eliminated operatives of the terrorist organization Hamas,” wrote the spokesperson, referencing an Israeli intelligence organization.
“IDF forces have been continuing their ground operations in the Gaza Strip for the past few hours,” wrote Hagari. “In encounters with terrorists, IDF fighters, assisted by combat helicopters and remote manned aircraft directed by the forces, eliminated squads that tried to attack the forces. The fighters also destroyed terrorist infrastructure, including anti-tank positions and additional launch positions.”
The death of senior Hamas officials comes as Israel expanded its ground operations in Gaza.
On Monday, the IDF broadened its presence in Gaza City. As of Monday, the city was surrounded on three sides.
The ground operations were supported by airstrikes. These included a number of strikes on Hamas’ underground tunnel network in the territory.
The ground attacks come more than three weeks after the Hamas terrorist attack that left more than 1,400 Israelis dead. The IDF has been bombing Hamas and related targets in the Palestinian territory since the Oct. 7 atrocities.
Separately, another American carrier group entered the Mediterranean Sea on its way toward the conflict zone. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and related vessels will join the USS Gerald R. Ford near the coast of Israel.
The Navy said that the effort was “in support of the defense of Israel and to deter aggression throughout the region.”
A number of other American and other NATO naval assets are currently in the region.
The U.S. Air Force also deployed a number of fighter jets in the region in case of future escalation.