Israel strikes 400 targets in Gaza, as Hezbollah fires anti-tank missiles

Seth Frantzman is reporting from Israel.

Israel continued to strike targets in northern Gaza overnight between Monday and Tuesday, as the war between Israel and Hamas entered the eighteenth day of fighting. According to a statement from the IDF provided to media, over 400 targets were struck in Gaza and several Hamas commanders were killed. 

On Monday evening strikes also targeted a number of Hamas commanders who operate air defenses in Gaza, including surface-to-air missiles. In addition, strikes took out the head of an anti-tank missile team in Gaza, the IDF said. The Chief of Staff of the IDF Lt. Gen. Herzi HaLevi said that the goal is to dismantle Hamas by targeting its leaders, branches of the organization and infrastructure.

“That is why we are striking and eliminating high ranking commanders and members, destroying infrastructure, and acting with great determination. The path is a path of unrelenting attacks, damaging Hamas everywhere and in every way,” HaLevi said.

Israel has concentrated attacks in the northern Gaza Strip and has warned residents to leave this area over the last two weeks. Gaza is densely populated and the request for people to covers approximately one million people. Israel has been preparing a ground operation for two weeks, deploying tanks and infantry units on the border of Gaza and declaring a vast area as closed military zone. This includes evacuating 53 Israeli communities that border the Gaza Strip, to a depth of 5 miles inside Israel, which includes 34,000 people and another 30,000 from the city of Sderot. 

Israel called up 300,000 reservists in the wake of the surprise Oct. 7 attack. The IDF is conducting training and refresher courses for the soldiers, including practicing urban combat scenarios and working with the soldiers on tactics such as clearing houses. If a ground incursion takes place, the soldiers will be operating in areas that are a mix of fields and built-up areas, as well as dense urban areas in Gaza city. The IDF said that it struck areas in the neighborhoods of Shuja’iyya, Shati, Jabalia, Daraj Tuffah, and Zaytun according to a briefing by IDF spokesperson Read Admiral Daniel Hagari. This includes key areas in northern Gaza. 

At the same time, Hezbollah continues to threaten Israel with anti-tank missiles on the northern border. An anti-tank missile was fired at Shtula, a small community that sits on hills along the border with Lebanon. Shtula had also been hit in the first week of the war, destroying a vehicle, killing one person and wounding others. This is one of many uses of anti-tank fire by Hezbollah over the first two weeks of the war. In addition the IDF said it carried out a strike against a “terrorist [who] attempted to launch a rocket from Lebanon towards Israeli territory adjacent to the area of Kibbutz Bar’am.”

Israel has also evacuated 42 communities along the northern border, though many communities have local security and support in attempt to keep small businesses running. The clashes in the north and south come as French president Emanuel Macron visited Israel on Tuesday. It also takes place amid continued focus on the 220 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Hamas released two hostages on Monday evening. One of them provided details of how she was transported through tunnels in Gaza.

Reporting from Israel, Seth J. Frantzman is an adjunct fellow at FDD and a contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal. He is the acting news editor and senior Middle East correspondent and analyst at The Jerusalem Post. 

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