16 May 2024

IDF’s new three-pronged Gaza offensive takes shape


The Israel Defense Forces have rapidly increased the number of troops fighting in Gaza over the week of May 5-12, sending two divisions to clear out Hamas in eastern Rafah and Jabalya. Eastern Rafah is along the Egyptian border, and is a sensitive area because of potential opposition from the US and Egypt. Jabalya is in northern Gaza and was previously cleared by the IDF in December. A third, smaller operation also began in Gaza city’s Zaytun suburb.

The multiple operations are bolstered by Israel’s control of the Netzarim corridor which stretches across Gaza, cutting off Gaza City from central Gaza and giving IDF forces easier access to areas such as Zaytun. The decision to return to Jabalya is raising eyebrows in Israel because the IDF cleared the area once already and it is clear now how quickly Hamas has re-established control. Hamas also launched rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon twice on May 11-12 and twice at Beersheba on May 10-11, illustrating that terrorist groups continue to possess or rebuild long-range rocket capabilities. In general, there have been few long-range rocket launches since January 1.

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