War in the Middle East: Israel announces expansion of ground operations in Gaza

Israel's army has announced that it will expand its ground operations in the Gaza Strip against the Islamist Hamas.

War in the Middle East: Israel announces expansion of ground operations in Gaza

Israel's army has announced that it will expand its ground operations in the Gaza Strip against the Islamist Hamas. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari announced this on Friday evening on the X platform, formerly Twitter. In the last few hours, the military has increased its attacks in the Gaza Strip. He further explained that underground targets and terrorist infrastructure were increasingly being attacked. It initially remained unclear whether the announcement marked the start of the Israeli military's widely expected ground offensive. The military had previously made isolated, time-limited advances on the ground.

Media reports indicated massive Israeli bombing raids in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. When asked, a military spokesman simply said that the armed forces were "continually" attacking targets in the Gaza Strip in their fight against Hamas.

According to the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, all communications and internet services were down in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian telecommunications company “Paltel” based in the West Bank said the heavy bombing by the Israeli army was to blame. The organization Netblocks, which is known for monitoring Internet blocks, also confirmed a breakdown in Internet connections in the Gaza Strip on Platform X.

The Israeli army announced on Friday morning that it had attacked more than 250 targets in the Gaza Strip within 24 hours. These included Hamas tunnels as well as command centers and rocket launch pads, the army said. Palestinian extremists in the Gaza Strip also fired rockets at Israel again on Friday, and sirens sounded in many places. According to helpers, three people were injured when a rocket hit the metropolis of Tel Aviv. According to Israel, more than 8,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip since the war began. The vast majority of them are intercepted by Israel's missile defense system.

More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel in a terrorist attack by Hamas in the border area with the Gaza Strip on October 7th. More than 200 hostages were kidnapped into the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel has been bombing targets in the Gaza Strip on a massive scale. The military also mobilized around 300,000 reservists and gathered forces near the Gaza Strip for a possible ground offensive.

The number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip has risen to 7,326 since the start of the war, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health. These include 3,038 children and young people and 1,792 women, the ministry announced on Friday. The numbers could not initially be independently verified.

The UN emergency agency OCHA, citing Hamas authorities, said that almost half of all houses in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, uninhabitable or damaged by Israeli attacks.

Israel rejected EU heads of state and government's call on Thursday evening for "humanitarian corridors and breaks for humanitarian purposes" in the Gaza Strip. "Israel currently rejects a humanitarian ceasefire," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. This includes “any kind of requested ceasefire.” Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.

The UN human rights office accuses Israel of war crimes. Withholding electricity and fuel from the more than two million people in the Gaza Strip is a collective punishment. "Collective punishment is a war crime," said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani in Geneva. The lack of fuel is forcing hospitals and bakeries to close. People lived in devastating conditions, there was a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities were inadequate. “A humanitarian catastrophe is looming for the 2.2 million people trapped in the Gaza Strip and being punished collectively,” Shamdasani said. She added that kidnapping civilians was also a war crime.

The number of hostages held in the Gaza Strip is higher than Israel previously estimated. The families of 229 hostages had been informed by Friday, said Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari. That was five more than the day before. It is expected that the number could increase. According to the military, the four hostages already released by the Islamist Hamas are not included in the number. According to Israeli information, the hostages include citizens from 25 countries, including Germans.

The Israeli side said that “dozens” of Hamas members had been hit in the air strikes since Thursday. A senior Hamas commander was also killed. The commander, Madhat Mubashar, was involved in several explosive and sniper attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the discussion about the reliability of the number of victims, which come from the Palestinian organization Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, to be cynical. For years, the WHO had no reason to doubt the numbers of these health authorities, said the WHO representative for the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Peeperkorn. It makes no difference whether there are a thousand more or fewer victims - the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is catastrophic and the number of victims from Israeli attacks is enormous. According to Peeperkorn, 23 of the 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are still partially functioning. He said surgery also had to be done on the floor.

A third EU-funded flight carrying 51 tons of aid for the people of the Gaza Strip has made its way to the region. The EU Commission said a plane took off from Copenhagen on Friday. Among other things, she brings medicine to Egypt. The EU is financing the total costs of all flights, it was said. The aid supplies are to be transported from Egypt to Gaza. According to the information, the goods are processed through partner organizations such as the International Red Cross. So far, however, very little relief goods have arrived in the sealed-off coastal area.

NEXT NEWS