Thursday May 23, 2024

Israel expands ground operation in Gaza as bombardment continues

Published : 28 Oct 2023, 02:18

  DF News Desk
People are seen among the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Oct. 27, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Rizek Abdeljawad.

Explosions continued to light up Gazan sky late Friday while Israeli forces were pounding heavily on the besieged Palestinian enclave, where communications and internet services were cut off following previous Israeli punitive measures that include the blockade of water, electricity, fuel, and other necessities, reported Xinhua.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has increased the airstrikes in Gaza "very significantly" in recent hours, Hagari said on social media X at night, adding the air force widely attacks underground targets and "terrorist infrastructure" to achieve the goals of the war.

The IDF confirmed to Xinhua that "following the activities which were carried out over the last few days, (IDF) ground forces are extending their ground activities this evening."

Xinhua correspondents stationed in Gaza, after regaining network, said intensified Israeli air strikes in northern and central Gaza were lightening up the night sky amid a blackout.

On the Gaza border, the Israeli army and Palestinian militants exchanged fire.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said in a statement "we are confronting an Israeli ground incursion into Beit Hanoun and east of Bureij, and violent clashes are taking place on the ground." Bureij lies in central Gaza, whereas Beit Hanoun is in the northeast.

So far the number of casualties caused by the night raids is unknown. However, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said it lost mobile and internet contact with operation rooms in Gaza, expressing grave concern about whether local crews could continue ambulance services.

Gazan eyewitnesses told Xinhua that heavy Israeli bombardment has been ongoing through the night, while local media reported Palestinian militants fired barrage of rockets targeting Israeli tanks deployed along the border.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli forces had conducted several "targeted raids" into Gaza, combining ground forces, fighter jets and other means, while its naval commando conducted a strike on Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, the IDF said in a statement.

During the operation, the IDF struck anti-tank missile launch sites, military command and control centers, as well as Hamas members, it added.

At least six people were wounded in a blast early Friday in Taba, an Egyptian Red Sea resort town near the Israeli border. Israel condemned the incident on Friday evening, claiming it was caused by "missiles and drones launched by the Houthi terrorist organization with the intention of harming Israel," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat said in a statement.

When asked about a possible deal on hostage release, Hagari called the reports "psychological terror employed by Hamas." A total of 229 hostages are being held in Gaza, most of them civilians, according to the IDF.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, 7,326 Palestinians have been killed since the war began. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, the majority of them in the Hamas offensive that occurred on Oct. 7, according to figures released by the Israeli military.

Clashes were also escalating at the Israel-Lebanon border. The Israeli army used tank and artillery fire to strike Lebanon.

At least 12 missile were fired toward Israel during the day with Hezbollah saying one of its fighter killed in southern Lebanon. This brings the total number of Hezbollah fighters killed since the outbreak of the border tensions on Oct. 8 to 47, according to the Lebanese military group.