Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari confirmed on 9 January a shift in the military’s large-scale on-ground operations and air campaigns to a more targeted phase in its war on Gaza.
In a statement, Hagari said that the new phase involves fewer troops and airstrikes — US officials anticipate the shift to include surgical missions by smaller groups of top Israeli forces to find and kill Hamas leaders, rescue hostages, and destroy tunnels.
Hagari indicated that Israel intends on reducing the number of troops in Gaza, a process that began this January, adding that the military has already moved to conducting one-off raids instead of wide-scale maneuvers.
“The war shifted a stage,” Hagari said to the New York Times on 9 January. “But the transition will be with no ceremony,” he added. “It’s not about dramatic announcements.”
Despite the alleged rein in its campaigns, Israel has committed 12 massacres against Palestinian families, leaving 126 killed and 241 injured in under 24 hours, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on 9 January.
The ministry added that there are several victims still under the rubble, but ambulances are unable to rescue them due to the relentless Israeli airstrikes and on-ground attacks. Since 7 October, at least 23, 210 have been killed and over 59,167 others injured, the ministry confirmed.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
Over 23,210 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 8,000 children — and over 59,167 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 300 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,500 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.