Israeli forces arrived this weekend in Gaza’s second-largest city, Khan Younis, located in the southern part of the enclave, and by Tuesday morning were deep into the heart of the city. It is believed that many senior Hamas leaders are hiding in this area — and may try to escape to Rafah with Gaza civilians as human shields under the eyes of Israeli forces.
Israeli forces reportedly also arrived at Fifth Street in the city, where the home of Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar is located. Sadly, Sinwar was not at home — he is currently hiding somewhere in the bowels of Gaza with his Hamas co-chief, Mohammed Deif.
International media reported that IDF tanks largely decimated the “Madinat Hamad” (Hamad City) area of the city, a Qatari-funded housing and commercial complex on the outskirts of Khan Younis. The neighborhood is named after the former emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who laid the foundation stone on a visit 11 years ago. The complex of more than 1,000 residential apartments, was inaugurated in 2016.
— Swords of Steel (@ignis_fatum) December 2, 2023
Israeli forces reached Bani Suheila, Qarara, Western a-Satr, Eastern a-Satr, and Abasan in the Khan Younis district, according to Arab reports that said that IDF helicopters are assisting the tanks with fire from above as they maneuver in eastern Khan Younis. Israeli artillery fire was reported in the area of Bani Suheila, according to the Abu Ali Express website.
Israeli forces have been engaged in close combat with Hamas terrorists in the city’s central Almahata neighborhood near the Khan Younis town hall and elsewhere around Khan Younis.
IDF Arabic-language Spokesperson Avichay Adraee advised the residents of Khan Younis on Tuesday to evacuate to Gaza’s coastal road, Rashid Street, for their own safety.
#عاجل سكان قطاع غزة، جيش الدفاع يعمل بقوة ضد حماس والمنظمات الإرهابية في قطاع غزة وبشكل خاص في منطقة خان يونس.
فيما يلي عدة تعليمات عاجلة:
⭕️القتال والتقدم العسكري لجيش الدفاع في منطقة خان يونس لا يسمحان بتنقل المدنيين عبر محور صلاح الدين في المقاطع الواقعة شمالي وشرقي مدينة… pic.twitter.com/nKC6YoEXG5
— افيخاي ادرعي (@AvichayAdraee) December 5, 2023
“Residents of the Gaza Strip, the IDF operates forcefully against Hamas and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, especially in the Khan Younis area,” Adraee said in a statement posted on multiple social media platforms, including X. He added explicit information to help the civilians figure out where to go to be safe, and how to get there.
“Here are several urgent instructions:
⭕️ The fighting and military advance of the Israel Defense Forces in the Khan Younis area do not allow the movement of civilians through the Salah al-Din axis in the sections north and east of the city of Khan Younis. In these areas, the Salah al-Din Axis constitutes a battlefield, so it is dangerous to approach it!
⭕️ The IDF is allowing the movement of civilians through the bypass axis located west of Khan Younis. Movement from the Rafah and Khan Younis area towards Deir al-Balah and the Central camps will be available through the following axes: Al-Rashid “Al-Bahr” Street – Al-Shuhadaa Street in Deir Al-Balah.
⭕️ There will also be a local and temporary tactical suspension of military activities for humanitarian purposes in the El Geneina neighborhood in the Rafah area from 12 noon to 2 pm for the purpose of delivering humanitarian supplies.”
Civilians in the area took Adraee’s advice and began heading south to Rafah, as directed by the IDF, since the morning hours.