Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday said that Hamas has “lost control” of the Gaza Strip it has ruled for 16 years. He made the statement after a photo started circulating in social media of Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Golani Brigade inside Gaza’s parliament. The troops were posing inside the parliament holding Israel’s flag at the desk. Hamas has been ruling over the Gaza strip after ousting the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2007.
“Hamas has lost control of Gaza. Terrorists are fleeing southward. Civilians are looting Hamas bases,” he said without providing evidence. “They don’t have faith in the government anymore,” Gallant added in a video broadcast on Israel’s main TV stations, according to AFP.
In a statement, the IDF said that the elite Golani brigade of the Israeli military captured the Hamas parliament building on Monday. The IDF has been making steady progress in the Gaza strip since the ground invasion on October 27, according to IANS.
The IDF has accused Hamas of using major hospitals in northern Gaza as its command centres and asked civilians to shift to the southern part of the enclave. According to a report by The Times Of Israel, the Israeli forces raided Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital. The IDF said that Hamas operatives were working from there and that they have found evidence indicating that hostages were held there.
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According to the IDF, Hamas started the war with 30,000 men across five regional brigades.
“We are preparing strongly with action plans for the north. Our mission is to bring security. The security situation will not remain such that the residents of the north do not feel safe to return to their homes,” the IDF Chief of Staff said on Monday.
“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control centre, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc.” Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said this in an English-language press conference.
The military released a video of the incident and claimed to have killed a gang of gunmen who had opened fire on soldiers from a different hospital in Gaza City. Members of a terror cell that fired at Israeli forces from Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City on Monday were killed by the Israeli troops. The IDF said that the hospital cell was “embedded within a group of civilians at the entrance” when it started fire on soldiers from the 188th Armoured Brigade, using light weapons and RPGs. With air support, IDF troops returned fire at the Hamas operatives, killing 21 of them, according to The Times of Israel.
Israel further added by saying that Hamas has command centres under hospitals in Gaza and is using civilians, including patients, as human shields there as the Gaza conflict continues.
The Israeli defence had also said that it had killed a number of Hamas commanders in airstrikes during the course of the previous day, while providing details of the efforts.
According to Times Now, Gallant further added that the Israeli troops are advancing as per plans and tasks are carried out “accurately, lethally”.
“We work according to tasks. We don’t have a stopwatch. We have goals. We will achieve our goals,” Gallant added. His statement was in reference to Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s indication that international pressure may force Israel to alter its actions in Gaza.
The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas, where about 2,500 terrorists breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, leading to casualties and the seizure of hostages.