(MENAFN) Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi announced on Sunday that a ground operation in the southern part of Gaza has commenced and is expected to be "no less powerful" than the recent offensive in the northern region. The general made these remarks during a meeting with Israeli troops from the Gaza Division, confirming that the operation in the southern part of the Palestinian enclave began on Saturday.
According to Lt. Gen. Halevi, the IDF has already targeted and eliminated Hamas battalion commanders, company commanders, and numerous operatives in the ongoing offensive. He emphasized that the operation's intensity in the south would match that of the northern campaign, asserting, "It will be no less powerful than [the operation in northern Gaza], it will have no less results. The Hamas commanders will meet the IDF everywhere."
Highlighting the military's capabilities, the IDF Chief of Staff stated that the operation in the southern part of Gaza would be conducted in the "most thorough way," similar to the approach taken in the north. Additionally, he mentioned that alongside the southern operation, the IDF would continue its offensive in northern Gaza with the aim of "deepening the achievements" already made.
The announcement comes amid heightened tensions in the region, with the United States, a key ally of Israel, cautioning against indiscriminate bombing in the southern part of the enclave without considering the presence of civilians, including those who sought refuge there from the northern onslaught. White House National Security Council director John Kirby emphasized that southern operations should only proceed if they "have factored in all those additional civilians."
As the IDF intensifies its efforts in both the northern and southern parts of Gaza, concerns mount over the potential humanitarian impact on civilians caught in the crossfire. The situation underscores the complex geopolitical dynamics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the challenges of balancing military objectives with the protection of civilian lives.
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