After the heaviest night of strikes on Gaza since the mid-east conflict began, the Israel Defence Forces has reissued an “urgent” last call for civilians in northern Gaza to leave before an operation it says will “neutralise the threat of Hamas with precision and intensity”.
Gaza is now without electricity or internet, other than possibly a few satellite phones and at night it is pitch dark with only a few candles and oil lamps for illumination.
Israeli troops are now thought to be already operating on the ground within the borders of Gaza working on destroying tunnel networks and underground bunkers where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding.
Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has once again intensified throughout the past days.
The Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza earlier said the number of people killed in the territory since 7 October has increased to 7,650 as a result of the unrelenting strikes.
It said another 19,450 people have been injured.
Israel’s military chief has said the objectives of the war against Hamas “require a ground operation” in Gaza.
In a statement released by the IDF, Israeli chief of the general staff Herzi Halevi said “the best soldiers are now operating in Gaza”.
“In order to expose and destroy the enemy, there is no other way than to enter its territory with force.
“This action serves all the purposes of the war,” he said.
He added those on the ground were being supported by “precise and heavy fire”, and everyone involved in the continuing operations are well prepared and trained effectively.
He added that the IDF was “prepared for every possible scenario” in case of regional escalation – particularly on the northern border with Lebanon, where the Hezbollah militant group is based.
Hamas has responded by calling for world leaders to allow immediate implementation of a United Nations vote for a pause in fighting to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.
The assembly yesterday overwhelmingly called for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas to allow aid access to the besieged civilians inside the Gaza Strip.
“We consider the decision a victory for our Palestinian people, and we demand that this aid piled up on the Egyptian side be quickly sent and distributed to all areas and hospitals in Gaza Strip,” Ghazi Hamad said.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Israel appears to have decided to ignore the UN motion and go ahead with an invasion of Hamas to achieve its stated target of completely destroying Hamas.
Sources: Sky News, BBC, CNN, VOA.