Israeli ground forces hit Hamas targets in the northern Strip and “operated to prepare the battlefield” ahead of an invasion.
By Joshua Marks
October 26, 2023
Israeli tanks rolled into the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday night in a pinpoint raid, “as part of preparations for the next stages of combat,” according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Under the lead of the Givati Brigade, Israeli forces struck terrorists along with terror infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts and “operated to prepare the battlefield,” afterwards returning to Israeli territory.
Army Radio reported that the raid was more extensive than the other ground activities carried out in Gaza in the two and a half weeks since the start of “Operation Swords of Iron.”
Hamas terrorists murdered at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 5,000 in a massive offensive launched from Gaza on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel, the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces and the abduction of 224 hostages.
A total of 267 people are still hospitalized in Israel from the Oct. 7 attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a prime-time televised speech on Wednesday night that the IDF is preparing for a ground operation in Gaza, adding that the timing had been unanimously agreed on by the war cabinet and military establishment.
“We are working around the clock in order to execute the goals of our war until victory, and we do so without political considerations,” said Netanyahu.
“We have already killed thousands of terrorists and this is just the beginning,” he said. “All Hamas operatives must die, above ground, underground, inside Gaza and outside Gaza.”
Israel has reportedly acceded to an American request to delay its planned ground invasion of Gaza so that the U.S. can position air defenses to protect its forces in the region.
Israel Air Force fighter jets have continued to hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on a daily and nightly basis since Oct. 7, with the military reporting on Thursday afternoon that the commander of Hamas’a northern Khan Younis rockets array, Hassan al-Abdullah, was killed in an Israeli strike.
IAF jets also struck Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Strip on Thursday, including military command centers and rocket launch posts.
Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Thursday that the Israeli Defense Ministry is set to extend the evacuation order of communities located along the Gaza and Lebanese borders until Dec. 31.
Some 200,000 Israelis are displaced internally due to the ongoing war with Hamas in the south and rising tensions along the northern border due to Hezbollah.