Israel carried out the heaviest bombing of Gaza so far last night and sent forces into the area. They still haven’t withdrawn. Making contact with people in the area is virtually impossible. A summary of the past hours.
The intensification of Israeli attacks began late Friday evening. The number of attacks increased, especially in northern Gaza. This was accompanied by a belligerent shout: “Tonight our revenge begins.”
But the long-awaited ground offensive would not yet take place. An advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weakened that statement a little later: at the beginning of the night he preferred to speak of “retaliation actions”.
The United States had already called on Israel to reconsider the ground offensive. Although the country is one of Israel’s closest allies, the country is concerned about the consequences of a ground offensive.
According to the Americans, it is questionable whether Hamas will be eradicated in this way. They are also concerned about the fate of the more than two hundred hostages held by Hamas. Partly for this reason, the US is said to have asked to postpone the ground offensive last week.
During the night that followed, the Israeli army continued the heavy attacks. Witnesses told American media of the heaviest attacks since the conflict escalated three weeks ago. Sometimes several explosions per minute could be heard and the sky turned orange.
As a result, all telephone and internet traffic in the Gaza Strip has been down since Friday evening. This makes it virtually impossible to contact residents, organizations and journalists in the Gaza Strip. It is difficult to find out what exactly is happening in the area.
A BBCjournalist in the area who did get in touch with the outside world, said the region is in a “state of panic, fear and chaos”. Palestinian citizens currently live completely cut off from the world, without water, food and medicine.
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Saturday morning it became more clear about the night Israeli operation. The IDF released images of tanks and soldiers in Gaza. It is the first visual evidence that Israeli forces have entered the area.
That happened more often in recent days. But then they were short, nighttime operations that often ended before sunrise. The IDF reports that troops are still in the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning. It appears that Israel is getting closer to a ground offensive.
The Israeli military claims it has killed several Hamas commanders. Among them was the head of Hamas’s air force. He was involved, among other things, in planning the massive surprise attack on Israel on October 7. In addition, the Israeli army is said to have hit 150 underground targets.
Meanwhile, concerns about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip are increasing toe. Due to the almost complete blackout, the area is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Human Rights Watch said the cutoff of communications could function as “a cover to carry out atrocities on a large scale.”
The World Health Organization WHO is also very concerned. The blackout makes it “almost impossible” for ambulances to reach injured people, says the WHO, which itself was unable to contact staff in the Gaza Strip.
Israel promised on Saturday that it would allow trucks carrying food, water and medicine into the area. In the past week, dozens of trucks carrying aid were admitted from Egypt.
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The post first appeared on www.nu.nl