Israeli forces are surrounding the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip as the war moves into a new phase following the 7-day pause to allow a return of some hostages, Israel’s top military commander said on Tuesday.
“Sixty days after the war began, our forces are now encircling the Khan Younis area in the southern Gaza Strip,” said Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, chief of the General Staff.
“We have secured many Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip, and now we are operating against its strongholds in the south,” he said.
Israeli forces, backed by warplanes that have dropped hundreds of bombs and other munitions, have been engaged in the heaviest day of fighting since the start of their invasion of Gaza, a senior commander earlier said on Tuesday.
“We are in the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation,” the commander of the [Israeli army] Southern Command General Yaron Finkelman said.
He said forces were fighting in Jabalia, north of Gaza City and Shuja’iyya, east of the city, and were now also fighting in Khan Younis, in the south of the enclave.
“We are in the heart of Jabalia, in the heart of Shuja’iyya, and now also in the heart of Khan Younis,” he said.