Israel-Gaza Situation Report: Push Into Heart Of Gaza City Looms, Civilians Flee

Thousands of Gaza City residents fled south through a ‘humanitarian corridor’ ahead of the IDF’s push directly into the heart of Gaza City.

byHoward Altman|
IDF pushing into gaza city
IDF/Screencap via Twitter
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With Israel having surrounded Gaza City and staging forces for a deeper incursion there, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gave civilians another window of opportunity to flee.

“Oh residents of Gaza, join the many who are heading to the south of Wadi Gaza at this hour!,” Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic spokesman, said in a message posted on Twitter Tuesday morning eastern time. “I would like to inform you that although Hamas continues to undermine the ongoing humanitarian efforts on your behalf and uses you as human shields, today the IDF will once again allow passage on the Salah al-Din Road between 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (local time, 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time)."

Gaza city residents fled south through a specific route ahead of the IDF's push into Gaza city. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

The IDF released a video showing hundreds of Palestinians passing through that corridor, many holding white flags, others carrying what they can as they leave their homes to an uncertain future. About 5,000 people left the northern half of Gaza during that window, according to United Nations monitors, The New York Times reported.

After completing the encirclement of Gaza City, “the IDF has been increasing its attacks on Hamas’s final defenses in the city,” Haaretz reported. “At this point, it doesn’t appear that Hamas has any real ability to halt the advance of Israeli armored forces. A formidable array of armored vehicles and heavy firepower is moving forward, preceded by a rolling barrage designed to suppress enemies and confine them to their hiding places. Hamas’s operational strategy is different: To harass Israeli forces from inside the tunnels after they settle into relatively static positions. This is why the IDF must be in constant motion.”

As the death toll in Gaza mounts - Palestinian health officials claim that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Israeli bombardments - pressure is building on Israel to pause its offensive to save civilians.

In an interview with ABC News on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there will be no ceasefire until all hostages taken by Hamas are released. He suggested, however, that there could be some temporary halts for humanitarian efforts.

"Well, they'll be no ceasefire, general ceasefire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages," Netanyahu responded. "As far as tactical little pauses, an hour here, an hour there. We've had them before, I suppose, will check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages to leave. But I don't think there's going to be a general cease-fire."

Netanyahu also hinted that Israeli troops may remain in Gaza indefinitely.

"I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, will have the overall security responsibility because we've seen what happens when we don't have it," he said. "When we don't have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn't imagine."

The Biden administration is planning a $320 million deal for supplying additional precision bombs to Israel, according to The Wall Street Journal. The publication cited correspondence about the transfer it has seen.

The weapons in question are Rafael's Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective (SPICE) family of precision-guided bombs. The conversion kits use an electro-optical seeker with scene-matching algorithms to hone into a target during the terminal phase of an attack. They can also be used to hit fixed targets using just GPS/INS or can be guided manually to their target for extreme accuracy using a man-in-the-loop control arrangement. They turn 1,000-pound and 2,000-pound so-called "dumb bombs" into highly flexible precision-guided munitions. They come in extended-range winged and direct attack varieties.

Rafael also makes an all-up (not a kit for existing bombs) SPICE 250, which is a standoff air-launched munition that uses the same guidance technology. The U.S. military does not use SPICE and does not have these weapons in its inventory.

According to the Journal, "Rafael USA would transfer the bombs to its Israeli parent company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for use by the Israeli Defense Ministry... The plan also includes the provision of support, assembly, testing and other technology related to the weapons use. It follows a $402 million transfer of the same weapons that the administration first sought congressional approval for in 2020."

The weapons were requested by Israel before Oct. 7, with an initial, informal notification sent to congressional leaders earlier this year, according to officials familiar with the process.

The Biden administration’s $14 billion aid request for Israel, approved by the House of Representatives last week, would “significantly expand its missile defenses, including new Iron Dome launchers equivalent to more than twice the current deployment, and nearly double the amount of US spending for the systems,” Bloomberg News reported.

“The package includes funds to build up to 100 more Iron Dome launchers and as least 14,000 of its Tamir interceptors, according to US officials, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Currently, the 10 existing Iron Dome batteries each include three to four launchers, 20 Tamir missiles and a battlefield radar.”

The IDF continued attacking targets in Gaza, including near the al-Quds hospital where it claimed Hamas fighters were staging for an attack.

"The fire complex of Division 36 located terrorists of the terrorist organization Hamas, who had barricaded themselves in a building near Al-Quds Hospital from which they planned to launch an attack against our forces," the Israeli Air Force said. "The fighters directed an Air Force aircraft to attack the terrorists. The attack led to significant secondary explosions that indicated the presence of a Hamas weapons depot in a civilian environment."

On Sunday, the IDF released "new intelligence... it said provided further evidence that the Hamas terror group is using medical facilities in the Gaza Strip for terror purposes," the Times of Israel reported.

"IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari briefed international media outlets with video footage of Hamas gunmen emerging from a tunnel under Sheikh Hamad Hospital, as well firing at Israelis forces from within the building itself," according to the publication.

The IDF on Tuesday also said its forces from the 7th Brigade Combat Team took control of a Hamas military stronghold in Gaza.

Soldiers of the Paratroopers Brigade exposed the shaft of an underground tunnel adjacent to an amusement park, Israel National News reported.

"The soldiers then destroyed the shaft. In addition, in cooperation with soldiers of the Armored Corps from the divisional combat team of the 7th Brigade, an underground tunnel shaft and a weapons warehouse were found near a university, containing chemical materials, RPGs, Claymore mines and more."

"This is all further evidence of Hamas’ cynical use of the civilian population and various facilities as a human shield for its needs," the IDF stated.

The Israeli Navy is also playing a role in the ongoing operation, shelling targets in Gaza.

"Since the beginning of hostilities, the Navy has operated in the southern naval arena in defensive, offensive, and relief efforts," Hagari said. "Vessels attacked hundreds of terrorist targets, including observation posts, anti-tank squads, vessels, outposts and military infrastructure."

A multiple launch rocket system was found inside a youth facility in Gaza, the IDF said.

The IDF also found another concealed MLRS, according to Long War Journal.

Hamas on Telegram claims they have destroyed several Israeli armored vehicles, including "three Zionist tanks, a troop carrier and a bulldozer on the outskirts of Al-Shati camp" as well as "a Zionist tank on the outskirts of Al-Shati camp" and "two tanks north of Beit Hanoun" all with Al-Yassin 105 anti-armor weapons.

Hamas released video showing intense clashes with the IDF in the city of Beit Lahia north of Jabalia in the northern part of Gaza. In the video below, you can hear Israeli armor rumbling past rubbled buildings as Hamas fighters fire Al Yassin 105 rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles at the IDF. It is unclear from this video the outcome of any of the skirmishes that show the challenges of fighting in a dense and destroyed urban environment. You can read more about what Israel faces in our deep dive here.

Days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said his forces were not yet ready to fully engage Israel, tensions on the Lebanon border remain high.

“Following the sirens that sounded in northern Israel, 20 launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” according to the IDF. “IDF soldiers are striking the origins of the launches with artillery.”

That followed an incident earlier in the day when “the IDF Aerial Defense Array intercepted a suspicious aerial target that was identified in the area of the border with Lebanon before it crossed into Israeli territory,” the IDF reported on Telegram.

In addition, “terrorists fired at an IDF post in the area of Aramshe in northern Israel. No injuries were reported. IDF soldiers responded with artillery fire toward the origins of the shooting in Lebanon.”

Israeli Air Force jets reportedly buzzed Lebanon's capital of Beirut after the latest series of attacks.

Hezbollah's number two Naim Qassem on Tuesday suggested the terrorist group will increase attacks on Israeli civilians.

Responding to threats from around the region, Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said during a speech to the 140th Squadron of F-35I fighters that "we know how to reach anywhere in the Middle East."

As the fighting continues in Gaza, internal Palestinian tensions are mounting in the West Bank.

Video has emerged on social media claiming to be an attack on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's convoy, reportedly by Hamas-affiliated forces within his own security apparatus.

One of his bodyguards was reportedly killed in the attack, which was claimed by a group calling itself the "Sons of Abu Jandal."

On Nov. 5, that group issued a threat against Abbas, giving him an ultimatum of 24 hours to declare an "open confrontation" with the Israeli occupation, or else they will commit mutiny.

A loose-knit group of Iranian backed militias say they carried out more attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

"The Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq targeted the American occupation base in the Green Village, deep in Syria, in a third operation on American bases today, with drones that directly hit their targets," the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed on Telegram Tuesday. The group also said it targeted the U.S. base at Erbil Airport “with drones, directly hitting their targets.”

The War Zone cannot independently verify these claims. We reached out to U.S. Central Command for comment and will update this story with any details provided.

The group on Monday also claimed to have launched attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria with a "medium-range Aqsa-1 ballistic missile (MRBM)."

The War Zone could not independently verify that claim.

So far, however, 46 U.S. troops have been wounded in attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon's top spokesman told reporters on Monday.

Of those, there were 32 wounded last month on an attack at Al-Tanf in Syria, 13 wounded during an attack on the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq and one wounded during an attack on the Erbil Airport in Iraq said Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.

The toll on civilians increases every day the war continues.

"UN-run shelters in Gaza are so crowded that it is impossible to count the people needing food, water, medicine and other basics, administrators say, as more fighting and bombardments continue to arrive," the Guardian reported.

“It is a terrible, terrible situation. There is no room even to sleep on the floor. There is one toilet for 700 or 800 people. No bread, no stoves for cooking. We are drinking irrigation water,” one UN official at a compound in the southern city of Khan Younis told the Guardian on Monday night.

“No one can get an accurate number of IDPs [internally displaced persons] here. We know nothing about what happens outside. Everyone is just concentrating on survival,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak to the media.

An Israeli air raid has killed Palestinian journalist Mohammad Abu Hasira along with 42 family members near Gaza City, Al Jazeera reported.

Including Hasira, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 37 journalists and media workers have been confirmed killed in this war: 32 Palestinian, four Israeli, and one Lebanese.

Humanitarian relief efforts continue to come through the Rafah crossing, a key border checkpoint between Egypt and Gaza

In addition to aid flowing in, "at least 320 foreign nationals and dependents" passed through the crossing on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing an Egyptian security official.

The border crossing was closed on Saturday and Sunday after an Israeli strike on an ambulance that was heading to Rafah, according to Reuters. Egyptian security sources said Egypt was continuing to press for increased aid and fuel into the strip and security for ambulances.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Tacoma, Washington last week staged a demonstration blocking access to the Port of Tacoma believing that a ship there contained munitions bound for Israel.

Protesters were picketing the Cape Orlando vessel, which is a cargo ship that is part of the U.S. National Defense Reserve Fleet, according to KING 5 TV

"We have sources that indicate to us that there is military cargo that is going to be put on this ship here," said Wassim Hage with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. "The idea is to make it almost impossible for the cargo to get loaded."

“The Department of Defense (DoD) is aware of the incidents in question - and we work closely with interagency partners, to include the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement – as appropriate - to ensure the security and safety of military assets and personnel operating at commercial port facilities," the DoD said in a release, according to KING 5.

The DOD confirmed the vessel is "under the operational control of U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is supporting the movement of U.S. military cargo," but would not provide further information about specific items being carried or its destination, citing operational security. 

The ship was also held up by protesters in Oakland, Calif., after three people chained themselves to a ladder. It was expected to make its next stop in Tacoma before heading for the Middle East.

The vessel was still in port as of Monday, the TV station reported.

This is a developing story. We will provide updates when there is more news to report about the Israel-Hamas war.

Update: 3:06 PM Nov. 8 -

This story has been updated to provide the proper description for protestors in Tacoma.

Contact the author: howard@thewarzone.com

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