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Israel-Hamas war: Gaza ground raid ‘biggest incursion’ of conflict so far, as IDF ‘prepares battlefield’ | World News


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Israel sent tanks and troops into northern Gaza overnight, in the “biggest incursion” of the war with Hamas so far, according to the country’s military.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said it carried out a brief ground raid to strike several military targets.

The attack was intended to “prepare the battlefield”, the IDF said, before a widely expected full-scale ground invasion of the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

The IDF published a video which it said shows the moment its forces moved into Gaza for the raid. In the footage, a row of tanks can be seen heading across the border, firing rockets.

Israel-Hamas war latest: Live updates after Gaza raid

Israeli armoured vehicles take part in an operation, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, at a location given as the northern Gaza Strip
Israeli armoured vehicles heading into the Gaza Strip

Israeli authorities said its weapons “struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts”.

Drone footage also posted by the IDF on X/Twitter appeared to show rockets striking targets and destroying buildings.

Ground forces, including armoured vehicles, conducted the “relatively large” incursion in a “targeted raid” into northern Gaza.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side and all soldiers are said to have now left the area.

Israel’s Army Radio described it as the biggest incursion of the current war so far, which began when militants stormed through southern Israel.

Israeli warplanes have also attacked over 250 Hamas targets in Gaza in the last 24 hours, a spokesperson said.

Incursions useful for taking out key Hamas positions

Israel’s operation inside Gaza last night was an incursion, not an invasion. It was the largest ground operation inside the Strip during the war so far but was limited in scope.

Tanks and infantry crossed the border into northern Gaza and targeted Hamas infrastructure.

I’m told that the operation was somewhere between a battalion and a brigade in size, which is very non-specific, especially as those military units vary in structure, but I think we’re looking at somewhere around 1,000 soldiers. They have all left Gaza now.

Last night, speaking in Hebrew on Israeli prime time television, Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed a ground invasion will happen but said the timing and nature of it would be chosen by the war cabinet.

Incursions, like that last night, are not just useful for taking out Hamas positions, but they are valuable intelligence gathering operations to map out the ground, assess the resistance and scale the task ahead.

Beyond that, I don’t think we should necessarily assume that Israel is now on the eve of the large invasion it’s promised – it could really come at any day now, and Netanyahu has made it clear it will stay secret until then – but I wouldn’t be surprised if the IDF carries out more operations like it did last night so that when the green light is given, they are as prepared as possible.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said operational headquarters and tunnel shafts were attacked, as well as rocket launchers that had been placed in civilian areas.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said the country is “getting prepared” for a full ground invasion and that troops have already “eliminated thousands of terrorists”.

He told the press conference in Tel Aviv that “all Hamas militants are doomed” and that people are working “around the clock”.

But he refused to give details of the “considerations” of the ground offensive, saying they are not known by the public and that is “how it should be”.

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The Israeli Prime Minister said that troops have already ‘eliminated thousands of terrorists’.

Buildings being struck by Israeli rockets

During the televised address to the nation, Netanyahu added: “I want to make it very clear, the timing of the operation of the IDF is unanimously determined by the cabinet that runs the war along with the chief of the general staff.

“We work in order to secure the best optimal conditions for their next operations.”

The prime minister called on Israelis to “not forget for one moment” those who have been killed in the Hamas attacks, saying there will be a national day of mourning set aside to remember the victims.

He added: “It is like shoving thousands of arrows into our heart, which is bleeding. My role is to lead this country and its people to all-out victory over our enemies. Together we shall fight and together we will win.”

He also urged people to evacuate to the south of Gaza and says the country is helping citizens “to get their own personal weapons in a controlled way”.

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Gaza residents collecting bodies on donkey carts

Israeli operation at a location given as the northern Gaza Strip
Israeli operation in the northern Gaza Strip. Pic: @IDF

In response to the deadly Hamas attacks, Israeli forces carried out more than two weeks of devastating air raids as its troops amassed on the border.

The raid last night came after the United Nations (UN) warned it is on the verge of running out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, forcing it to sharply curtail relief efforts in the territory, which has also been under siege since Hamas’s rampage across southern Israel on 7 October.

Read more:
UN chief ‘shocked by misrepresentations’ of his comments
Civilian hostages will be freed if Israel stops bombardment
Fate of five Britons unknown after Hamas attack on Israel

Gaza’s health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said on Wednesday that more than 750 people were killed over the previous 24 hours, higher than the 704 killed the day before.

Israel says around 1,400 people were killed during Hamas’s incursion and more than 200 people were taken hostage by the militant group.

The Israeli military says it only strikes militant targets and accuses Hamas of operating among civilians in densely-populated Gaza.

The rising death tolls in Gaza are unprecedented in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli operation at a location given as the northern Gaza Strip
Footage showed tanks targeting Hamas positions. Pic: @IDF

Even greater loss of life could come if Israel launches the long-anticipated full-scale ground offensive aimed at crushing Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007 and survived four previous wars with Israel.

Palestinian militants have fired rocket barrages into Israel since the war began.

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