Israeli forces retake control of Gaza border region

by JNS
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IDF calls up 300,000 reservists in 48 hours • “Operation Swords of Iron” to go from defensive to offensive, says IDF spokesman.

(JNS) Israeli forces have regained control of all the communities near the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday morning after two days of combat with Hamas terrorists.

“We are in control of the ‘Gaza envelope’ communities,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told journalists during a press briefing. He warned, however, that there are still terrorists in the area.

Hagari added that the military has called up 300,000 reservists.

Early Monday morning, exchanges of fire took place at Kibbutz Be’eri, Kibbutz Holit, Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Nir Oz, Kibbutz Nirim, Kibbutz Alumim and the Gavim Junction near the city of Sderot.

In addition, Israeli forces killed several Hamas terrorists at a swimming pool in Sderot.

Hagari said three Palestinian terrorists were “neutralized” in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, adjacent to the northeastern Gaza Strip. One terrorist was killed in Be’eri; in Holit and Kibbutz Sufa, five were killed; and in Alumim, four were killed.

“The events at night are isolated incidents. We are searching the area— we have control. There is no fighting in the communities at this stage,” Hagari said as he announced the IDF’s “Operation Swords of Iron” would move to the offense.

The border fence will be secured by tanks, combat helicopters and drones as the IDF continues to evacuate residents and call up reservists in preparation for an expected ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

“[Hamas leader in Gaza] Yahya Sinwar is the commander of the campaign, and he is a dead man,” Hagari said.

The terrorist group’s “military and political leadership, all of its assets, are subject to attack and doomed,” added the top military spokesman.

Hamas killed at least 800 Israelis and wounded more than 2,300 on Saturday in a massive offensive launched from the Gaza Strip that included the launch of thousands of rockets at the Jewish state.

Of the 2,382 wounded, 22 remain in critical condition, according to the Israeli Health Ministry. In addition, 345 Israelis sustained severe wounds.

Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported that security officials estimate that between 800 and 1,000 terrorists entered Israel during the initial attack through some 80 gaps in the border. They attacked 20 civilian communities and 11 IDF bases, the report added.

Over the past 20 hours, the IDF has carried out four waves of air strikes in the Gaza Strip, attacking more than 800 terrorist targets.

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