Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Israel Defense Forces operating in Gaza

IAF fighter jets are continuing to strike operational tunnel shafts, anti-tank missile launch posts and terror infrastructure from which rockets were fired Monday at Sderot, as two divisions prepare for upcoming combat missions in the enclave and Israeli government leaders continue to spar with their foreign counterparts about the war in Gaza.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Wednesday in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog on a laundry list of orders from the White House.

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One day earlier, Foreign Minister Israel Katz met with French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné, warning him that if Lebanon’s Iranian proxy Hezbollah does not withdraw from Israel’s northern border, the IDF will re-occupy southern Lebanon to create a buffer zone and enable evacuated Israelis to return to their homes.

Israel carried out a similar operation in the 1990s — for similar reasons — and maintained the buffer zone in southern Lebanon until then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak was persuaded to withdraw the forces, enabling Hezbollah to seize control over the entire sector.

The 162nd Division prepares for its next mission in Gaza.

Two rockets that were heading for Sderot were successfully intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array (Iron Dome). Shortly afterward, IAF fighter jets struck operational tunnel shafts, an anti-tank missile launch post and terror infrastructure in the area from which the launch was identified in northern Gaza.

Since Monday IDF fighter jets struck a number of terror targets in the central Gaza Strip, including a terrorist cell and a weapons storage facility, in the area where IDF ground troops are operating.

Gaza terrorists are also firing missiles at IDF troops in central Gaza; Israeli forces spotted numerous terrorists at the location from which the missiles were fired, and directed an aerial attack at the site by Israeli fighter jets, who eliminated the terrorists.

Enemy spotters were also identified and eliminated by IAF fighter jets in central Gaza. Other terrorists seen advancing toward Israeli ground troops were likewise eliminated by Israeli aircraft.

Alongside these efforts, the 162nd Division has been preparing together with the 98th Division for the anticipated upcoming combat in southern Gaza with situational assessments and approval of battle plans.

The 162nd Division withdrew from Gaza last week after six months of intense operations in the north and central areas of the enclave. The 98th Division completed four months of extended ground operations in Khan Younis as well.

The headquarters of the divisions and the brigades, and the reservists held professional learning days at all operational levels, and conducted command discussions about the continuation of their mission, while command level exercises were conducted to learn lessons and improve effectiveness on the battlefield.

Technology and Maintenance teams of the Technological and Logistics Directorate within the divisions also carried out a raft of procedures for the armored vehicles to enhance their readiness for continued combat. The teams repair and restore combat vehicles even while under fire as necessary.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.