IDF claims has 'dismantled' militants in north Gaza

Israel's military claims to have dismantled what it calls Hamas' "command structure" in north Gaza. Meanwhile, Hezbollah launched its biggest rocket barrage against Israel since the war started

Israeli tanks roll through the rubble in bombarded Gaza (photo: DW)
Israeli tanks roll through the rubble in bombarded Gaza (photo: DW)
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DW

  • Israel says Hamas command structure in north Gaza dismantled

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Istanbul on first stop of Middle East tour aimed at reducing regional tensions

  • Israel, Hezbollah exchange fire across Lebanon border

  • EU foreign policy chief warns against regional conflict

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces had completely dismantled Hamas’ "military framework" in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military killed around 8,000 Hamas militants in that area, Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), said.

"We are now focused on dismantling Hamas in the centre of and south of the strip," he added.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said on Saturday, 6 January, that 22,722 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive. It does not distinguish between civilian and combatant casualties.

Israel has questioned the accuracy of the numbers in the past, given Hamas' control of authorities in Gaza, but the UN and other observers say they are broadly reliable.

In the south, the majority of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians are fleeing the conflict into smaller areas in what aid organisations describe as a humanitarian disaster.

Israeli says it aims to destroy Hamas' military capabilities and remove it from power in Gaza after militants stormed Israeli border defences on 7 October and killed some 1,200 people in Israel and abducted around 250 others.

Around half of the hostages are still being held in Gaza. In response, Israel launched a military operation against Hamas in Gaza, as well as instituting a blockade of food, water, power and medicine.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU, Israel and other governments.

UN relief chief says Gaza has become 'uninhabitable'

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said on Friday, 5 January, that "three months since the horrific 7 October attacks, Gaza has become a place of death and despair".

Griffiths decried the deaths of "tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children" and said "medical facilities are under relentless attack".

He said a "public health disaster is unfolding," and warned that "famine is around the corner."

"Gaza has simply become uninhabitable. Its people are witnessing daily threats to their very existence — while the world watches on," Griffiths said.

"We continue to demand an immediate end to the war," Griffiths said, adding that "it is time for the parties to meet all their obligations under international law, including to protect civilians and meet their essential needs, and to release all hostages immediately."


Hezbollah reports biggest rocket barrage against Israel since 7 October

The Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah said on Saturday, 6 January, that it had fired a total of 62 rockets across the border to Israel the previous day.

The group called the massive wave of strikes its "first reaction" to the killing of a senior Hamas official in Beirut on Tuesday, 2 January, for which it says Israel was to blame.

The Israeli military responded to the rockets with fighter jets and shelling. Israel has demanded Hezbollah leave the area close to the Israeli border and warned it would use military means if necessary.

The increasing intensity of the conflict in Lebanon has fed concerns that the war in Gaza could spread across the region.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was in Lebanon on Saturday and called for an end to the escalation.

"It is imperative to avoid regional escalation in the Middle East. It is absolutely necessary to avoid Lebanon being dragged into a regional conflict," Borrell said during a press conference in Beirut with Lebanon's foreign minister.

"I am sending this message to Israel too: Nobody will win from a regional conflict," he said.

EU's Borrell in Lebanon "to show support during difficult times"

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was also in Lebanon on Saturday, 6 January, on a visit meant "to show support during these difficult times".

"[I] will have important meetings on the impact of the Gaza war on Lebanon and the region," Borrell said in a statement on social media.

His arrival coincided with Hezbollah and the IDF both saying on Saturday that they had struck targets across their disputed border.

Borrell and US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who is also in the region for another visit, on Friday, 5 January, launched a fresh diplomatic push to prevent the Gaza conflict spilling over across the region, including into Lebanon, the occupied West Bank and the Red Sea shipping lanes near Yemen.

IDF & Hezbollah both report strikes across Israel–Lebanon border

The Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday, 6 January, that they targeted a "terrorist cell" in Lebanese territory, from which attacks on Israel had been launched.

Alerts were activated in the northern area of Israel, the IDF said in a social media statement. Around 40 rockets were launched from Lebanese territory in the north of the country toward the area of Meron.

Meanwhile, Lebanese group Hezbollah said it fired over 60 rockets at an Israeli military base, describing the barrage as an "initial response" to the killing of a senior Hamas leader in Beirut earlier in the week.


The Hamas member, Saleh Arouri, died in an alleged Israeli drone strike in the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, fuelling further tensions on the disputed Israeli–Lebanese border.

Hezbollah is an Iran-backed political party, with a military wing based in Lebanon. It is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and Germany, while the EU lists only its armed wing as a terrorist group. Hezbollah has been an official part of successive Lebanese governments, however.

Hezbollah and Israel regularly trade tit-for-tat rocket attacks over their border, but experts considered Tuesday's drone attack unusual because it happened in a crowded suburb of the Lebanese capital, far from the border.

Hezbollah has vowed revenge for the assassination. This has led to further concerns that the Gaza conflict may spark a wider regional war.

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