The Israeli army has cleared the western area of Gaza City, said the country’s defense minister on Thursday, announcing the start of the “next phase” of ground operations.
Speaking to soldiers at the 36th Division’s command center in southern Israel, Yoav Gallant said: “During the past 24 hours, we took operational control of the western area of Gaza City, and the next phase of ground operations has begun.”
He added: “The more we continue this operation, the more pressure we will put on Hamas and the more we will succeed in eliminating its infrastructure, including its headquarters and tunnels.”
Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, accompanied by a ground operation, has killed over 11,000 Palestinians, more than half of them being women and children.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have also either been damaged or fully destroyed.
The official Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at 1,200.
The enclave is again under a communications blackout due to a lack of fuel for generators, according to Paltel, the company that provides telecommunications services in the Gaza Strip.