While on a personal visit to the devastated town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant sent a clear message to Hezbollah in Lebanon: this could be Beirut. The area had been devastated by combat between Israel and Hamas militants.
The Iranian-backed terrorist group that has been unprovokedly bombing Israel for over two months finally got the message when Gallant made the threat again, this time with the ruined landscape as a backdrop to his statement.
Recent days have seen an influx of media depicting the destruction from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian accounts on social media. The former aims to portray Israel in a negative light, while the latter serves as a warning to terrorists about the repercussions of their acts.
Ground combat has recently caused most of the damage, with buildings used by Hamas to launch rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) or position snipers being destroyed by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops. This is in contrast to the early weeks of the war when the Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted intense attacks on targets in northern Gaza.
An opposition leader from the Blue and White party, which is a member of the interim government of national unity, joined Gallant and addressed the soldiers, saying, “I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel.” Gantz is a former defense minister and chief of staff of the IDF.
The claim that Israel refrained from bombing Hezbollah on October 7 due to pressure from the US was disputed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. Hezbollah was supposed to be the target of Gallant’s strike plans, but Netanyahu reportedly stopped him.
Eight Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and four Israeli civilians have been killed and four more injured as a result of intermittent fire from Hezbollah at Israel since October 7.
On Saturday, there was heavy combat between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas in the northern Gaza town of Jabalia, which is also home to the biggest refugee camp in the region.
Over the village, thick smoke billowed as the inhabitants griped about the seemingly endless barrage of aircraft bombardments and tank shelling by the Israelis.
This attack followed remarks made Friday by Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, top military spokesman of Israel, who claimed that the Israeli Defense Forces had virtually acquired “complete operational control” of northern Gaza.
According to the Times of Israel, Hagari said on Saturday that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are still expanding their operations in southern Gaza.