Israel Pounds Central Gaza And Begins Softening Rafah With Precision Strikes

by David Mark

The rumors that the war had ended have once again proven to be spin generated by Israel’s hard left and their supporters in the Biden administration. The IDF launched a “targeted operation” against Hamas in the central Gaza Strip overnight, on the outskirts of Nuseirat. This is an area where IDF soldiers had yet to operate during the war.

The IDF reported that the Israeli Air Force and 215th Artillery Regiment carried out strikes against dozens of Hamas targets, including tunnel infrastructure and then the 162nd Division’s 401st Armored Brigade, Nahal Infantry Brigade, and other units moved into the area.

Despite the rumors that the IDF has pulled out of the Gaza Strip save for the Nahal Brigade (stationed in the Neitzarim corridor), Israeli forces actually still control a kilometer deep buffer zone along most of the Gaza Strip. This includes the Erez region which lies within Gaza’s northern border just south of the city of Ashkelon.

The Neitzarim corridor mentioned above is also not just a strip of land, but is a 2.5 to 3 kilometer wide corridor leading from Kibbutz Be’eri to the Mediterranean. The IDF has built bases, communication towers and other permanent defensive and offensive infrastructure. The corridor as well as the Erez area allow Israel to effectively control Northern Gaza. Mop up operations are still necessary, but Gaza City is now broken of from the rest of the Strip.

The IDF upper echelon has made tremendous mistakes in the war, but the head fake they gave the Americans and Hamas by pulling out the 98th Division from Khan Yunis appears to have succeeded in luring a number of key Hamas fighter out from their tunnels. Israel also used the “Khan Yunis Retreat” to begin their precision bombing of Rafah; something that must be done to soften up the Hamas defenses there.

Map showing IDF control over Gaza Strip (base map from Google)

The final campaign of the war appears to be moving forward. The IDF will first wear down Hamas’ defenses and then sever Rafah from the South by taking the Egyptian-Gaza border. After that they will have to smash the final battalions of Hamas while rescuing any hostages still alive.

For six months the US has asked for a day after plan. Netanyahu has balked and for good reason. In Israel’s case the military outcome of the war will organically shape the day after by breaking up the Gaza Strip into at least four enclaves. With the bolstering of the Neitzarim corridor and the full control of Gaza’s Erez region, the beginning of this plan is nw taking shape.

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