Israel’s military conducted a preliminary incursion into Gaza on Thursday with tanks, the largest raid since declaring war on the Hamas terrorist organization that invaded Israel on Oct. 7, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted a “limited raid” into Gaza on Thursday, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, amid intense domestic pressure to proceed with the pledged ground invasion aimed at eliminating Hamas entirely and rescuing hostages in Hamas captivity, according to the WSJ. IDF tanks and personnel destroyed obstacles in preparation for “the next stages of fighting,” Hagari said.
No Israeli soldiers were injured during the raid, Hagari said, according to the WSJ. (RELATED: Biden’s Nat Sec Adviser Claimed Admin Had ‘Restored’ Relations Between Gaza, Israel Days Before Attacks)
“We are preparing for a ground operation,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address Wednesday, according to the WSJ. “I will not specify when, how, how much.”
Hagari updated the estimated total number of hostages, many of whom are dual nationals, in Hamas’ control to 224, up from a previous 222, the WSJ reported. One objective of the Gaza raids is to identify hostages and confirm whether any have been killed.
IDF soldiers have been conducting training exercises along the border with Gaza for weeks in preparation for the invasion, according to the WSJ. Since the Hamas invasion on Oct. 7, the Israeli air force has conducted some of the highest intensity airstrikes on Gaza in recent decades, claiming to hit about 7,000 targets, The New York Times reported.
In preparation for the next stages of combat, the IDF operated in northern Gaza.
IDF tanks & infantry struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts.
The soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory. pic.twitter.com/oMdSDR84rU
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 26, 2023
The start of the invasion has reportedly encountered delays over efforts to negotiate hostage releases and establish a humanitarian corridor into and out of Gaza. The Biden administration also requested Netanyahu postpone the operation while the Pentagon rushes additional air defense systems to locations throughout the Middle East hosting U.S. troops.
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