The Israel Defense Forces launched its most extensive ground incursion yet in the ongoing three-week-long conflict. Late Wednesday and early Thursday, Israeli tanks advanced into northern Gaza in what is being described as a targeted raid.
The military reported that they successfully eliminated Hamas infrastructure and missile launching sites, with the objective "to prepare the battlefield" for the next stages of the war. After firing on several targets, the tanks withdrew back into Israel. In addition, the military says it carried out more than 200 airstrikes across Gaza.
In a national address on Wednesday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that a ground invasion of Gaza remains part of Israel's strategic plans, with a specific time frame established, though he did not reveal that time frame.
The raid comes as the humanitarian situation in Gaza is growing more dire by the day. According to the United Nations, relief efforts could stall completely without fuel shipments.
Israel has allowed a few aid convoys into Gaza, but the military is restricting fuel out of concerns that it could be used by Hamas. Without fuel, however, Gaza’s hospitals can't power their generators.
The reported death toll in Gaza now stands at more than 7,000, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is run by Hamas. U.S. officials believe the number is inflated.
The health ministry says Israeli air strikes killed 750 people on Wednesday alone — the highest single-day total of the war. These numbers have not been independently verified by Scripps News.
On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people were killed in the Oct. 7 invasion by Hamas, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com