Israeli military forces arrived Wednesday at the home of Gaza’s Hamas terrorist chief, Yahya Sinwar, in Khan Younis. The soldiers encircled the house. But Sinwar is not home: he has fled to the tunnels beneath Gaza, where he is holed up like a rat in a maze.
“Last night I said that our forces could go anywhere in the Gaza Strip,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented. “They are currently surrounding Sinwar’s house. His home is not his castle, and he can flee, but it is only a matter of time until we find him,” the prime minister added.
Watch this footage from the offensive in Khan Younis by soldiers in the IDF’s elite “Duvdevan” unit.
The IDF also cleared for publication on Wednesday night that the 98th Division, which includes the Commando Unit and other special forces, are operating against the Hamas strongholds in the city. Within a few hours, the soldiers pierced through the defensive lines of the Hamas Khan Younis Brigade, encircling it, and for the first time began to operate in the heart of the area.
From the outset, the troops eliminated terrorists in encounters and with aerial support. They also located approximately 30 tunnel shafts and destroyed them. The forces struck multiple terrorist targets in the area. The forces raided a Hamas battalion post, where they found weapons and intelligence materials.
Simultaneously, other IDF troops encircled the city.
The Commando Unit and the Givati Brigade launched targeted raids in the heart of Khan Younis upon their arrival at the city center. They eliminated terrorists, destroyed terrorist infrastructure and located weapons. In addition, the troops struck terrorist targets that included a mosque being used as a storage facility for weapons.
The Khan Younis Brigade is one of the two most significant brigades in Hamas. Khan Younis, the second-largest city in Gaza, is a terrorist stronghold identified as a symbol of the Hamas military and administrative rule.
“The entire leadership of the Hamas terrorist organization – both military and political – proliferated around the city – including Yahya Sinwar, his brother and “Number 2” Muhammad Sinwar and Muhammad Deif. Currently, the area is secured by the 98th Division,” the IDF said.
Earlier in the day, the Commander of the Southern Command, MG Yaron Finkelman, held an operational situational assessment with the IDF troops who are currently engaging in combat around Khan Younis.
The forces on the ground discussed the offensive operations carried out so far and described the plans for continued ground operations in the area.
“The combat in Khan Younis is a major effort,” Finkelman said. “I am impressed by how well it is being managed. You are in control; you are moving forward.
“There are moral objectives here that guide us,” he reminded the troops. “Continue to demonstrate this. We will bring in what is needed; we are moving forward toward the identified objectives on the front.”