In the ten days that have passed since our last Gaza Battlefield Reports, the map showing the progress of the Israeli army has changed slightly less than in the previous installment. And that despite the fact that it showed progress in roughly half the time period. However, this does not mean that the fighting has significantly decreased in intensity or even stopped in recent days.
This is not expected to happen until Thursday, when the four-day ceasefire is due to begin.
Israel continued air and ground strikes in multiple locations last week and this week, and its forces advanced in several directions deeper into Hamas-controlled territory.
Fighting also continued continuously behind the front line of the Israeli advance, which, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), is consistent with the fact that it is still a so-called clearing operation. Which means that Israel is not yet in full control of all the territories it has advanced to.
Shift from November 8 to 12:
Shift from November 12 to now:
At the end of last week, Israeli Defense Minister Joav Gallant declared that the “next phase” of fighting was beginning, in which Israel would begin advancing into the eastern part of Gaza City.
After all, this had already started to happen a few days earlier, when Israeli soldiers advanced to the east of the Shati refugee camp. At the end of last week, the Israeli army published video from a place not far from Rantsí Hospital, and according to ISW, reports from Palestinian sources about fighting in this more eastern part of the city already indicated progress in this direction.
Israel has not yet gotten further than the Rantísí hospital – at least according to what can be found on November 23 and what the most current version of ISW shows.
In addition, Israel has also confirmed advances south of Beit Hanoun, where the Israelis managed to reach at least the northeastern edge of Gaza City. In addition to reports of fighting, videos from earlier this week show fighting near the Indonesian hospital, which remains the furthest confirmed site of Israeli advance in the area, according to ISW.
Fierce fighting continued in the area of the Šífa hospital in the last ten days.
The Israeli military has reported that it has been conducting reconnaissance operations right in its compound since the beginning of last week. Even at the end of it, specifically on November 17, the American newspaper The New York Times, referring to the Israeli army, wrote that Israel was not yet in full control of the hospital. At that time, however, the Israeli army was already publishing videos of the alleged Hamas tunnel right in the complex, and a few days later even dared to invite foreign journalists to the site.
After taking control of the hospital complex, the next Israeli advance took place eastward. It is still not entirely clear how far the Israelis managed to break through, however ISW from the reports of the Palestinian Red Crescent about the encirclement of Al-Ahli hospital and the reports about ongoing fighting in its immediate vicinity mentions its vicinity as the furthest point of the advance.
In general, it can be said that Israel’s progress in the last 10 days continued in several directions, but was somewhat slower than in the first half of November.
Map with marked places mentioned in the text:
The amount of Israeli casualties in the ground battle in Gaza has increased from 44 to 69 in the last ten days (current data as of Wednesday 11/22).
Israel says it has killed thousands of Hamas fighters. More specifically, an unnamed Israeli military source recently told the Financial Times (FT) that 10 of Hamas’ 24 brigades, numbering a thousand fighters each, are “significantly weakened.”
The FT reports that, along with the roughly 1,000 terrorists killed in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attacks, Israel estimates it has killed about 5,000 Hamas fighters. “It’s not ten thousand, but it’s not a thousand either. It’s something in between,” a source told the paper.
It is also worth noting the observation of the ISW, who reassessed the tactics of Hamas and since about mid-November have been talking about it as a delayed fight. The institute came to this conclusion based on the development of the situation on the battlefield, but also, for example, reports by the Reuters agency referring to sources close to Hamas and the IDF’s statement about finding the enemy’s battle plan.
To put it simply, delayed combat means trying to avoid a decisive battle and gradually retreat in defense, gaining time and inflicting maximum losses on the enemy.
In the case of Hamas, according to ISW, this approach makes sense, because the longer the fight lasts, the more Hamas has the opportunity to gain support from its partners, while it can probably count on increasing pressure on Israel from the international community due to civilian casualties.
According to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority, more than 14,000 people have died in the narrow coastal strip since October 7.