Yochai Gur Hershberg and Yehonatan Malka
Yochai Gur Hershberg and Yehonatan MalkaCourtesy of the families

The IDF has cleared for publication the names of two fallen soldiers:

- Staff Sergeant (res.)Yehonatan Malka, 23, from Be'er Sheva, fell in battle in the Gaza Strip.

- LieutenantYochai Gur Hershberg, 52, fell in a military accident in southern Israel.

On Tuesday, the IDF cleared for publication of the names of two additional soldiers who fell in battles in the Gaza Strip: Master sergeant (res.) Matan Damari, 31, from Dimona, who was killed by mortar fire in the northern Gaza Strip, and Master sergeant (res.) Ilay Eliyahu Cohen, 23, from Beit Nehemia.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi stated on Tuesday that the IDF is launching the third stage of its ground campaign against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza with the encirclement of Khan Yunis.

"60 days after the war began, our forces are now encircling the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip," Halevi said. "Simultaneously, we continue to secure our accomplishments in the northern Gaza Strip."

"Those who thought that the IDF would not know how to renew the fighting after the pause were mistaken, and Hamas is already feeling this. Many Hamas operatives, including senior commanders, have been eliminated in recent days," added Halevi.

The Chief of Staff announced, "We have moved to the third phase of the ground operations. We have secured many Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip, and now we are operating against its strongholds in the south."