Intensified Ground Operation: IDF Will “Continue Striking Gaza City”
In a statement Saturday, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said its warplanes hit 150 underground targets in the besieged enclave overnight, striking what it called terror tunnels and underground combat spaces and killing several Hamas operatives.
Among those killed was Asem Abu Rakaba, who had taken part in planning the surprise October 7 attack on Israel, that claimed about 1,400 lives, and “directed the terrorists who infiltrated Israel on paragliders,” the IDF said.
Hamas Has Vowed To Retaliate If Israeli Troops Enter Gaza
The IDF will “continue striking Gaza City,” according to IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, who repeated previous warnings that civilians should evacuate as he announced an expanded ground operation in the impoverished territory.
Although a significant ground offensive has been expected ever since the October 7 assault on Israeli cities, it is not yet clear whether the IDF announcement of an intensified operation signals the start of that push. Meanwhile, Hamas has vowed to retaliate if Israeli troops enter Gaza.
The substantial bombardment began Friday, with communications in Gaza badly disrupted by airstrikes, according to Palestinian telecoms company Jawwal. London-based NetBlocks has also said the last standing major internet operator in the region has experienced damage.
“Attempt To Create Darkness So That Crimes Can Be Committed”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has accused Israel of cutting communications and internet to Gaza in an “attempt to create darkness so that crimes can be committed” in preparation for an IDF ground operation.
He called on the global community to act, noting “the world is facing a historic moment”. UN agencies and several aid organisations say they have now lost contact with local staff in the enclave. The ongoing violence is also a deadly period for journalists, with at least 29 killed.