The Israeli army announced that it has assumed operational control over several critical locations held by the main PLO battalion operating in the Zeitoun area within southern Gaza City.
“The soldiers of the Golani Brigade led the beginning of the fighting against ‘Zeitoun’. The soldiers have engaged dozens of terrorists, conducting battles at close quarters with them, and have eliminated many of them,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
It added: “The soldiers of the 188th Brigade took operational control of several key targets of the ‘Zeitoun’ Battalion, including the command center of the Commander of the Gaza City Brigade and the battalion’s central headquarters. The soldiers searched the area, located many weapons and at the end of the searches they destroyed the command center of the Commander of the Brigade. In addition, the soldiers directed an air strike in the area of the Zeitoun which led to the elimination of terrorists. In recent days, the soldiers located a laboratory for the production of rockets, explosion materials, a tunnel shaft, a large number of weapons and a UAV inside a mosque.”
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers “destroyed military targets of the Hamas terrorist organization in Zeitoun, among them an Islamic Jihad weapons production post, where heavy and long-range rockets were located, as well as a lathe used for military purposes.” They also “destroyed tunnel shafts, took control of Hamas command centers, confiscated intelligence material used by the organization to learn about [Israeli army] soldiers, and struck additional buildings from which terrorists fired at [Israeli army] soldiers.”
Israeli army commanding officer BG Dado Bar Kalifa said: “During the last days of the fighting of the 36th Division in Zeitoun, we constantly encountered an enemy hiding behind children, women and civilian infrastructure. The soldiers of the division, including soldiers of the Golani Brigade, the 188th Brigade and the Bislamach Brigade, operated in a complex war zone in an urban area, exposed terrorists who were hiding in civilian areas and eliminated many terrorists. These achievements were made possible thanks to the close cooperation between the Infantry, Combat Engineering and Armored Corps and the IAF. We will not stop until we achieve all our goals, and we will continue to act to protect our home.”
Meanwhile, Hamas reported violent bombardment and fierce clashes between its fighters and the Israeli army in Zeitoun neighbourhood.
Palestinian authorities have reported that the total number of casualties due to the Israeli aggression has reached 12,916 dead and 32,850 injured since the beginning of the hostilities on October 7, according to the Palestinian ministry of health.
A number of citizens died and many others were injured as a result of Israeli artillery shelling that targeted the Asqoula area in Zeitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City, in addition to more bombing in Al-Sabra neighborhood, while dozens of citizens remained under the rubble in light of the rainy weather conditions and the difficulty of civil defense vehicles and ambulance crews’ arrivals, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.