Israel’s defense minister announced on Saturday that the war has entered a new phase as troops move quickly through the Gaza Strip.
“We moved to the next stage in the war,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a broadcast according to The Associated Press. “Last evening, the ground shook in Gaza. We attacked above ground and underground. … The instructions to the forces are clear. The campaign will continue until further notice.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday in a televised address to the nation that the goal is to destroy Hamas and its military.
“Our heroic fighters have one goal: To destroy this enemy and to make sure the existence of our country. Never again. ‘Never again,’ is now,” he said, according to CNN.
He also added that the war is going to be very long.
IDF leaflets have warned Gaza residents that the city is now a “battlefield.”
“To the residents of the Gaza Strip: The Gaza governorate (Gaza City) has become a battlefield. Shelters in northern Gaza and Gaza governorate are not safe,” leaflets dropped by fighter jets warned, according to AFP.
Israel’s military called for civilians to move south from the northern part of Gaza where it says Hamas is hiding under buildings where civilians are hiding.
Palestinians have said there are no safe locations, according to Reuters.
The Palestinian Red Crescent has blamed Israel for Gaza being under an almost complete communications blackout since Friday evening.
Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that Israel has allowed trucks with food, water and medicine to enter Gaza.
As of now, as many as 8,700 people on both sides have been killed, according to Fox News. That includes 1,400 Israeli civilians and 33 Americans. The Gaza health ministry says that more than 7,400 Palestinians have been killed, including 110 in the West Bank, according to the outlet. In addition, 229 are believed to being held captive, including at least 10 Americans.