IDF details heavy battles between its 36th Division and Hamas, in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Troops of the 36th Division operate in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, in a handout image released on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops of the 36th Division operate in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood, in a handout image released on November 20, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces details the operations of the 36th Division in the Gaza Strip over the past few days, during which troops battled hundreds of Hamas operatives, and located weapons and terror infrastructure in civilian sites.

According to the IDF, the infantry forces, tanks, and combat engineers of the 36th Division are working to defeat Hamas’s Zeitoun battalion, operating in the neighborhood of the same name in Gaza City.

The operations in Zeitoun come after the 36th Division completed the capture of Gaza City’s Shati camp and Sabra neighborhood.

The military believes troops have killed hundreds of terror operatives in Zeitoun so far. There is heavy fighting, as Hamas is operating in cells of between five and 10 gunmen in the area, according to military assessments.

The IDF believes the fighting in Zeitoun will last at least another 72 hours, and when it ends, the IDF will continue to work to demolish all of the terror group’s infrastructure in the neighborhood.

In a statement, the IDF says the troops, led by the Golani Infantry Brigade, have engaged in several gun battles with Hamas in Zeitoun, including operatives holed up in residential homes, hospitals, schools, and other civilian sites.

The commander of the 36th Division, Brig. Gen. Dado Bar Kalifa says his troops “constantly encountered the enemy hiding behind children and women, and behind sensitive civilian infrastructure.”

“The troops have encountered many dozens of terrorists since the beginning of the fighting in the neighborhood, conducting close-quarters fighting with them, and have so far eliminated many of them,” the IDF says.

It says troops of the 188th Armored Brigade captured a number of Hamas sites in Zeitoun, including the offices of the head of Hamas’s Gaza City brigade.

“The forces searched the area, located many weapons, and at the end of the searches, they destroyed the office of the brigade commander,” the IDF says.

Forces of the Bislamach Brigade (the IDF’s School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders) located and destroyed an Islamic Jihad compound in Zeitoun, where a number of heavy and long-range rockets were found.

The 36th Division troops also directed several airstrikes in Zeitoun against Hamas operatives, as well as located a rocket-making lab, weapons, explosive devices, a drone, and a tunnel inside a mosque in the neighborhood.

Most Popular