Israeli troops launched a ground raid of northern Gaza for several hours overnight into Thursday, the Israel Defence Forces said, as part of what the military called “preparation for the next stages of combat” as a larger incursion is expected to come soon.
“As part of the activity, the forces located and attacked many terrorists, destroyed terrorist infrastructure, anti-tank positions and carried out work to organize the area. The troops left the area at the end of the mission,” the IDF said, as translated.
Over the past 24 hours, Israeli warplanes hit more than 250 Hamas targets in Gaza, the IDF said. Additionally, Israel increased the number of people who were kidnapped to 224 after four hostages were released within the past week.
The IDF is telling Gazan civilians to leave north Gaza, but Hamas, the terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip, is blocking the roads and shooting at people who leave, according to a Gazan civilian whose conversation was recorded and released by Israel.
The latest conflict started Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, murdering more than 1,400 people, including women, children and the elderly as well as at least 31 U.S. citizens. In addition to kidnapping more than 200 people, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been continuously launching rockets at Israel.
The Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry, which Western officials say over inflates the casualty count, claims that more than 6,500 people have died since Oct. 7.