Israel says it has deployed ground troops against Gaza
Israel’s army said it had deployed ground troops in an attack on Hamas on the Gaza Strip after five days of continuous bombardments aimed at a Palestinian militant group that fired more than 1,500 rockets at the Jewish state.
“Air and ground troops of the Israeli Defense Forces are currently attacking the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement. A military spokesman later clarified that Israeli forces had not entered Gaza.
But the deployment of ground troops in the operation marks an escalation of the five-day conflict and reflects whether Israel intends to invade the gang for the first time since the conflict killed 2,000 Palestinians and 72 Israelis in 2014.
Israel and Hamas have waged three wars since the militant group took control of the list in 2007.
Israel has been carrying out airstrikes against militants in Gaza for five days, killing 103 Palestinians, including 38 women and children, according to health officials on the list. A total of 580 people were injured.
Despite the bombing, Hamas continued to fire rocket salvos into the depths of Israel, and on Thursday Israeli authorities caused international flights to be diverted from Tel Aviv. Militants killed seven Israelis this week, including a soldier and a child.
Israel deployed additional troops – including two infantry brigades and an armored vehicle – near the Gaza border and called 9,000 more reservists on Thursday. The military had previously said it was examining all scenarios, including a potential ground operation.
Without a ceasefire, Egyptian officials were trying to secure a ceasefire, a Western diplomat said. Hady Amr, the U.S. State Department’s chief Israeli and Palestinian official, was also on his way to Israel Attempts by the Biden administration to exacerbate the crisis.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Thursday that Washington was trying to deepen the situation in its efforts. Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary-General António Guterres also called for an end to the fighting on Thursday. But the Western diplomat said Israel had earlier rejected an effort to stop fighting between Israel and Egypt, which borders Gaza.
Earlier, Israel invaded Gaza in its 2009 and 2014 wars with Hamas in operations that destroyed the poor Mediterranean list. The conflict killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and 2,000 Palestinians, respectively. However, Hamas has mostly managed to maintain a large arsenal of domestic rockets. Since the 2014 war, Israel has been reluctant to send troops to Gaza for fear of kidnapping its soldiers and other risks associated with such operations.
Israel is stepping up its campaign against Hamas as the country falls from the worst community violence in the country over the years.
Violence between Israeli Jews and minimum Israeli Arabs erupted in several Israeli towns this week, shaking the nation to its core, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to end the riots “by force, by force”.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been dominated by fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian factions in the occupied territories for more than a decade, but communal violence added dangerous dynamics, increasing pressure on the Israeli government.
Israeli Arabs make up about one-fifth of the Jewish state’s population, with Israeli passports and voting in the country’s elections. But they denounce institutional and social discrimination and have turned sympathy for the Palestinian cause into the goal of right-wing politicians.
In a speech in the city of Lod on Thursday evening, the most violent in the community, Netanyahu promised security services, working with the Shin Bet home intelligence agency, that they would be given a free hand in the incident to stop the violence, saying “no investigation commissions, investigations and controls”.
“Help you, don’t worry,” he said. “You have to use force when you have an incident, a lot of force.” He said he was considering the use of administrative detention in the occupied West Bank to detain Palestinians for long periods of time without entering the lawyers and entering the army.
As another sign of the escalation of the crisis, Israel said it fired three rockets from Lebanon north of Israel on Thursday, stressing the risk of opening another front. The Israeli army said the rockets landed in the Mediterranean and caused no damage.
It was not clear who fired the rockets and Israel’s northern border with Lebanon has been quiet in recent months. Hezbollah lives in Lebanon, a movement in support of Iran that fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006, as well as Palestinian refugees and militants. A Lebanese army official said the situation surrounding the rockets is still unclear. He reported that Palestinian detainees had been arrested by local media.
The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon said General General Stefano Del Col, the head of his mission, had spoken to the Lebanese army and the IDF to demand scaling up after the latest rocket attack. A Hezbollah spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.