Israel Strikes Back

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Israel is beginning ground incursions into Gaza. Infantry and tanks crossed into the Strip, eliminating entrenched terrorists and conducting reconnaissance.

Although not the first raid since the October 7 attack, this one is directly related to a nearing invasion of Gaza. The AP reports:

Israeli troops and tanks briefly raided northern Gaza overnight, the military said Thursday, engaging with Hamas fighters and targeting anti-tank weapons in order to “prepare the battlefield” before an expected ground invasion.

The third Israeli raid since the war began came after more than two weeks of devastating airstrikes that have left thousands dead, and more than 1 million displaced from their homes, in the small, densely-populated territory.

The number of tanks indicate that the IDF unit was the size of an armored company, with additional support amounting to a battle group. The Guardian continues:

Grainy video footage released by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) showed a column of at least a dozen main battle tanks and other armoured vehicles crossing through an opening in the Gaza border wall and firing on a nearby built-up area of damaged buildings.

Although Israeli troops have been raiding frequently into Gaza in the recent fighting, this incursion was described as far more significant in scale and aimed at shaping the conditions for fighting in immediate border areas for the “next stages of the war”.

Israel is massing and training its forces to fight in Gaza. The rescue of hostages is not often commented on, focusing instead on punishing Hamas. The political settlement of the strip remains in question.

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