IDF forces in Gaza
IDF forces in GazaIDF spokesperson

Israel is unable to continue holding on to territories in the Gaza Strip that it supposedly cleared of terrorists, allowing Hamas to recruit thousands of new terrorists during the war, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The report criticized that alongside military achievements, Israel does not have a "strategic endgame,” and that the US administration will continue to pressure Israel to prepare a plan that will turn these military achievements into a strategy.

It was also reported that many more terrorists have managed to infiltrate the civilian population, and others are in underground tunnels, which makes it difficult for Israel to reach them.

In addition, it was reported that US intelligence estimates that only 30-35% of Hamas terrorists have been eliminated since the outbreak of the war, and that 65% of the tunnels in the Gaza Strip remain intact.

Earlier Bloomberg reported that the US has softened its opposition to the expansion of the military operation in Rafah after Israel showed efforts to lower the number of civilians there.

According to the report, Israel's plans for dealing with the humanitarian issue within the framework of extensive military activity in Rafah were brought up to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in meetings held in Israel this week, and they were found to accommodate the government's approach and complies with its requests.

It was also reported that the thousands of Palestinians who left Rafah in recent weeks helped to allay concerns about a large number of civilians staying there during a military operation.

According to estimates, about one million people have been evacuated from Rafah so far. Although the political echelon has not yet approved an extensive ground maneuver in Rafah, the IDF continues its activities with an emphasis on tunnels and smuggling tunnels on the border.

At this stage, four divisions control the eastern neighborhoods of the city and the crossing itself. Combat soldiers of Division 162 have started advancing from the west to the crossing along the Philadelphi Axis on the border with Egypt – one of the main smuggling points for Hamas in recent years.