Israel enters second stage of war against Hamas; IDF ground operations in Gaza Strip
The IDF has initiated a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, supported by troops from the air and sea, as announced by Israel's political and military leadership. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined the operation's goal to eliminate Hamas's military and political capabilities and secure the release of kidnapped citizens
The Israeli Defense Force has launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip with support from troops in the air and at sea, as confirmed by Israel's political and military leadership on Saturday night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that this marks the beginning of the second stage of the conflict, with the primary objective being the destruction of Hamas's military and political capabilities, as well as the recovery of kidnapped citizens.
Netanyahu acknowledged the challenges ahead, describing it as their "second War of Independence," but emphasized their readiness and determination to succeed. Earlier in the evening, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi stated that highly trained and well-prepared soldiers are conducting operations in Gaza.
The expanded ground operation commenced on Friday evening and continued through Shabbat, with plans for further escalation in the coming days as the number of known hostages increased to 229. Israel has successfully targeted several senior Hamas leaders who played pivotal roles in the planning of the October 7 attack, resulting in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis.
8000 Palestinians killed: Hamas
According to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the Gaza Strip, the conflict has led to the reported deaths of more than 8,000 people since it began on October 7. This wave of violence saw the loss of 1,400 lives in southern Israel, a majority of whom were civilians, and the abduction of 230 individuals. These numbers cannot be independently verified and encompass Palestinian civilians and Hamas members killed both by Israeli actions and errant rockets launched by Gaza-based terror groups.
"The ministry informed news agency AFP that the death toll resulting from Israeli aggression has now exceeded 8,000, with half of the casualties being children. An earlier report issued on Saturday had cited 7,703 fatalities.
It's important to note that these figures lack independent verification and encompass both Hamas leaders killed by Israel and Palestinian civilians who lost their lives due to errant rocket attacks launched by Gaza-based terror groups.
Israel has reported that it eliminated 1,500 terrorists within its borders on and after October 7.
In other developments, telephone and internet connectivity is gradually being restored in the Gaza Strip, as reported by Reuters, citing Palestinian media outlets. Additionally, the global network monitor Netblocks has confirmed the ongoing restoration of internet connectivity."
Ceasefire is not on the table for Israel
Israel has firmly declined calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing its commitment to preventing further large-scale attacks, like the one that occurred three weeks ago. On Friday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution, backed by an overwhelming majority, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Notably, this resolution did not mention Hamas. It received praise from the Islamist group Hamas but drew condemnation from Israel. The resolution's key points included an immediate ceasefire, the release of all civilians, the protection of civilians and international institutions, and the safe passage of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
Although nonbinding, the resolution highlighted substantial international support for the Palestinians during Israel's military response to the October 7 Hamas attack.