Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) brought its ground soldiers to the Gaza border early Friday morning local time following a barrage of 1,500 rockets that targeted airstrikes failed to curb.
IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus later told Vox that IDF ground trips were not “inside the Gaza Strip.” An earlier tweet from the IDF had said, “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously announced that IDF soldiers were massing at the nation’s border with Gaza in preparation for invasion. He promised that Israel would “would extract a very heavy price from Hamas” in response to repeated rocket attacks that have killed at least seven Israelis. In addition to the rockets that landed in Israel or were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, at least 350 rockets misfired and landed in Gaza, according to the IDF. (RELATED: Watch The Moment Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts A Barrage Of Rockets Over A Major City)
WATCH as a Hamas rocket aimed at Israel misfires and falls back into Gaza.
But this isn’t the 1st time—Hamas misfired 350 rockets in the last 3 days.
These rockets result in the deaths of innocent Gazan civilians.
It’s time for the world to hold Hamas accountable. pic.twitter.com/vmhmXTZrl6
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 13, 2021
Israel says it is massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory, as the conflict between two bitter enemies continues to escalate. https://t.co/x4LdhmHMjO
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 13, 2021
Israeli operations in Gaza have consisted primarily of airstrikes, according to the Jerusalem Post. The IDF has bombed 700 targets, including Hamas’s central bank. At least 60 terrorist operatives have been killed. 109 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gazan Health Ministry. That number does not distinguish between people killed by Israeli airstrikes and people killed by misfired Hamas rockets.
“Tonight we started destroying government targets in the Gaza Strip, such as central banks and internal security buildings. Hamas is beginning to discover cracks and there is pressure in the organization, even among the Gaza public who is losing its patience,” IDF Spokesperson Brigadier-General Hidai Zilberman said.
President Joe Biden expressed support for Israel in a phone call with Netanyahu on Wednesday. Biden “conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people,” a White House readout of call said.
Israel last invaded Gaza in 2014, in Operation Protective Edge.
This is a breaking story and will be updated as new information becomes available.