Israel’s defense minister announced on Friday that the country intends to soon begin a lengthy and challenging ground offensive into Gaza with the goal of destroying a large network of tunnels used by the region’s Islamist Hamas rulers.
After Israeli soldiers, assisted by fighter jets and drones, launched their second ground operation into Gaza in as many days, targeting the edges of Gaza City, Yoav Gallant addressed a small gathering of foreign reporters.
He stated that the ground invasion will involve sizable soldiers, be supported by airstrikes, and “will take a long time,” without providing any further details. He predicted that it would be followed by a third round of less intense combat as Israel eliminated “pockets of resistance.”
As a result of Israel’s waves of destructive airstrikes in response to a murderous Hamas invasion into southern Israel on October 7, the number of Palestinian fatalities has already surpassed 7,300.
The names and identification numbers of those who have died were published in detail on Thursday by the Gaza Health Ministry, which keeps track of the toll.
More than 3,000 minors and more than 1,500 women are included in the death toll. The entire death toll is much higher than the estimated 4,000 casualties from the four previous wars between Israel and Hamas.
As Israeli forces and Hamas engage in combat in densely populated areas, an invasion on the ground is anticipated to result in even more losses on both sides.
According to the Israeli authorities, the initial Hamas attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 individuals, the majority of whom were civilians.
In Gaza, Hamas is imprisoning at least 229 people, including men, women, children, and senior citizens.
After Israel cut off all fuel deliveries to Gaza at the outset of the war, forcing its lone power plant to shut down, hospitals have been scrambling for fuel to run emergency generators that power incubators and other life-saving equipment.
Since the start of the war, only a small amount of food and medicine has been permitted entry.
Gallant asserted that Israel thinks Hamas will seize any fuel that enters. He claimed that Hamas pumps air into its hundreds of kilometers (miles) of tunnels, which start in residential areas, using generators.
He displayed overhead footage to the media of what he claimed was a tunnel shaft constructed near a hospital.
“Oil is necessary for air. They require us for oil, he replied. Gallant’s assertions couldn’t be independently verified because so little is known about the infrastructure used by Hamas, which is also notorious for its covert tunnel system, Lynne Hastings, and the U.N. We don’t know what Hamas has or doesn’t have, said the Palestinian territories’ aid coordinator when asked about Gallant’s comments.
“For many years, we have cooperated with the Israeli authorities in transporting petroleum into Gaza.
We are working with the Israelis to ensure that the gasoline we will be using for our operations is done securely because we are aware that it is a high-risk item, she said.