The Israel Defense Forces have declared that they have Gaza City — historically the largest population center in the Gaza Strip — surrounded. With Israeli forces on three sides inside or outside the northern Gaza Strip and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, they basically have placed a state of siege over the war-torn city. As a result, Hamas and any other militants there are cut off from surface resupply and a situation where any tunnels connecting to areas outside the cordon can be identified and destroyed is set in place.
Under these conditions, the fighting is intensifying and is likely a preview of what's to come once the IDF pierces deep into the complex urban sprawl that is rubble-strewn Gaza City.
While the independent Institute for the Study of War's (ISW) assessment map below is now 20 hours old, it pairs well with what has been conveyed by the IDF just hours ago:
@Osinttechnical also did a breakdown of satellite imagery that now supports the IDF's claims:
Major U.S. naval movements are underway in the region. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group has moved out of the Eastern Mediterranean and into the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. It is very possible that it will take up station in or around the Arabian Gulf in the coming days as a major deterrent and contingency in regards to Iran. It would also put the carrier strike group in a good position vis a vis Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen, who have been launching drone and missile strikes against Israel. The U.S. military has already shown a willingness to respond to those Houthi threats, with the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Carney shooting down four land attack cruise missiles and 19 drones the group launched back on October 19.
If the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group does leave the Red Sea and head north, this would put one Carrier Strike Group in the Eastern Mediterranean, an Amphibious Strike Group in the Red Sea, and the Eisenhower and its escorts in the approaches to the Persian Gulf. Basically, the region's maritime borders would be surrounded by U.S. Navy power.
In addition, in a relatively rare publicity move, the U.S. Central Command also highlighted that one of its Ohio class guided missile submarines (SSGNs) also moved into the Red Sea. This is a major signaling move.
While the leadership of Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon isn't willing to go all in on the conflict, Iran is still making threats. In this case, the country's defense chief warned the U.S. that unless there is a ceasefire, there will be major consequences. Iranian bluster is par for the course, but the statement is a clear example that Iran's rhetoric is not in retreat.
Israel continues to double down on its information operations, highlighting its claims that Hamas uses hospitals to protect and conceal its critical operations and that these civilian facilities have been designed from early on to do so:
Meanwhile, after nearly a month of bombardment, there are major concerns in regard to just how habitable large parts of Gaza will be after this is all over.
Try Yingst has done a series of reports while embedded with the IDF in Gaza:
Israel says it has opened a humanitarian corridor for civilians to exit northern Gaza, posting drone footage that they say shows this corridor in action:
There are growing calls for a humanitarian pause to the fighting in Gaza, although nothing seems to be solid at this time. U.S. President Joe Biden did answer in the affirmative when asked from afar if there was progress on making it happen. Israel has held its position that there will be no ceasefire unless all the hostages are released unilaterally.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been on yet another whirlwind tour of the region, meeting with leaders about various aspects of the conflict and the very real concerns that it could erupt into something larger. This included a trip into Baghdad, where U.S. interests have been under repeated attacks from Iranian-aligned militias.
The body armor-clad Secretary of State was photographed heading to meet with Iraq's Prime Minister specifically to discuss the unacceptable security situation for U.S. personnel in the country.
Blinken met with Palestinian Authority leader Abbas prior to heading to Iraq. He talked about the growing violence in the West Bank, among other glaring issues. Now he is headed to Turkey where the relationship between Ankara and Israel has hit a new low.
Mass demonstrations in Turkey included a mob of people going to Incirlik Air Base, where the U.S. has a major installation that includes tactical nuclear weapons storage areas. The protestors were tear-gassed along the base's perimeter and security measures are being enhanced to deal with the new reality in that country in regards to the safety of U.S. forces based there.
Protests around the world have increased in size and intensity, with some targeting other U.S. military assets, one of which even occurred in Oakland, California. The U.S. National Defense Reserve Fleet roll-on, roll-off transport ship MV Cape Orlando was on the receiving end of protesters there:
Protests outside of the White House were also intense:
Israel has remained under sporadic rocket barrages now four weeks after this current war began. Video today shows a relatively rare total failure of a Tamir interceptor used by the Iron Dome system as it was fired in response to incoming rockets:
Netanyahu has indicated that Israel will likely be inside Gaza long after the current operation ends. This will have many impacts, including on the size of the IDF.
Israel intends to maintain significant control over the Gaza Strip even after the current war against Hamas, an Israeli official said Sunday.
“I don’t see any situation in which Israel doesn’t have ultimate security responsibility in Gaza,” said the official in a Hebrew-language briefing with Israeli reporters in the Kirya in Tel Aviv.
US President Joe Biden has warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that re-occupying Gaza would be a “big mistake.” Israeli officials insist they have no interest in doing so.
The official added that after Hamas is toppled, “it won’t be enough to do just a rehabilitation of Gaza.”
“It must go through a process of ‘de-Nazification,'” continued the official. “This culture [of seeking to kill Jews] still exists in the Palestinian Authority.”
“The IDF will deploy against a [massive] breach of the border, and not just a penetration of a few terrorist cells into communities,” said the official.
“The IDF will be bigger,” continued the official. “We will invest in the army.”
The official added that Hezbollah “cannot breach the border because of our deployment and the readiness of our forces. The issue of ‘capturing the north’ is no longer relevant.”
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com