Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024
alert-–-israel-says-it-will-cut-‘the-umbilical-cord’-with-gaza-to-create-‘a-new-security-reality’-and-block-all-crossings-after-annihilating-hamas-in-ground-invasionAlert – Israel says it will cut ‘the umbilical cord’ with Gaza to create ‘a new security reality’ and block ALL crossings after annihilating Hamas in ground invasion

Israel said it will cut ‘the umbilical cord’ with Gaza to create ‘a new security reality’ and block all crossings after annihilating Hamas in a ground invasion.

The Israeli military on Friday punished Gaza with airstrikes and authorities inched closer to bringing aid to desperate families and hospitals.

Israel will enforce a buffer zone within the Gaza Strip once the war is over, Israel’s agriculture minister Avi Dichter said on Thursday. 

In comments that seemed to refer to setting up a buffer zone in the coastal strip, Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen said on Wednesday that ‘at the end of this war, not only will Hamas no longer be in Gaza, but the territory of Gaza will also decrease’.

Asked about these remarks and the possibility of setting up a buffer zone inside Gaza, Dichter said that the current situation, in which most of Israel’s border security infrastructure was several hundred metres inside Israeli territory, was no longer tenable. 

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023

Palestinian people carry out search and rescue operations in the ruined buildings at Nuseirat Refugee Camp as the Israeli airstrikes continue on the 14th day in Gaza Strip, Gaza, on October 20, 202

Israeli soldiers are positioned outside Kibbutz Beeri near the border with the Gaza Strip on October 20, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023

‘It’s not that you started it from inside the Gaza Strip, as a buffer zone. You started it on the Israeli side — 50 to 100 metres inside . . . We understand it was a mistake, it has to be fixed,’ he said.

The 20-foot-tall border fence currently has a 100-yard buffer zone, backed by radar, motion sensors, a deep concrete foundation to deter tunnelling, and observation towers.

Construction on the ‘smart fence’ began after 2016 and was completed in 2021.

But on October 7, Hamas launched its attacks from Gaza, bursting through the border fence and rampaging through Israel.

Dichter said they would no longer allow Gazans to approach the fence – effectively squeezing Gaza’s territory.

He said: ‘On the Gaza Strip all along, we will have a margin. And they will not be able to get in. It will be a fire zone. And no matter who you are, you will never be able to come close to the Israeli border.’

Israel previously maintained a buffer zone inside Gaza after it left the strip in 2005. 

But the buffer has eroded since then, partly due to indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to ease the blockade on Gaza, where 2.3 million Palestinians reside.

Dichter, who was previously head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency, said the width of any buffer zone in the future would have to be decided ‘according to the area, the needs of the military, according to the distance of the Israeli military or the Israeli settlements’.

‘We have Kibbutz Nahal Oz that is 800 metres from the border. So you need to take more precautions in such an area,’ he said. 

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon, in southern Israel, October 20, 2023

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023.

An Israeli Merkava tank drives past a fence near Kibbutz Beeri, close to the border with Gaza on October 20, 2023 

Palestinians walk by buildings destroyed in the Israeli bombardment on al-Zahra, on the outskirts of Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023

This handout satellite picture taken on October 20, 2023, shows a view of humanitarian aid trucks moving in a convoy near Sheikh Zuwayed in Egypt’s North Sinai province and bound for the Rafah border crossing between northeastern Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Cargo planes and trucks have been bringing humanitarian aid to Rafah for days, but so far none has been delivered to Gaza 

‘The whole contour of the Gaza Strip, it doesn’t allow us to take risks. We have seen what happened when we took risks. It was a mistake we are not going to repeat.’

Israel said on Friday that it does not plan to take long-term control over the Gaza Strip after an expected ground offensive to root out the Hamas terrorists that rule the territory. 

Israel occupied Gaza from 1967 until 2005, when it pulled up settlements and withdrew soldiers. Two years later, Hamas took over. Some Israelis blame the withdrawal from Gaza for the sporadic violence that has persisted since then.

On Friday Israel bombed areas in southern Gaza where Palestinians had been told to seek safety while it tries to destroy Hamas in retaliation for its brutal rampage in Israel two weeks ago. 

Fighting between Israel and militants in neighbouring Lebanon also raged, prompting evacuations of Lebanese and Israeli border towns as fears of a widening conflict grew.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed since Hamas attacked on October 7 – mostly civilians slain during the incursion that shattered Israelis sense of security and resulted in 203 hostages taken into Gaza.

The Health Ministry run by Hamas says more than 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began. That includes a disputed number of people who died in a hospital explosion earlier this week.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers released two Americans on Friday among some 200 hostages they abducted in brutal October 7 attacks in Israel and indicated that more could follow.

Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan were back in Israel late on Friday, the Israeli government said.

No details were given on their condition, but US President Joe Biden said he was ‘overjoyed’ at the news. Biden spoke to the two women over the phone after they were freed. 

Thousands of people in Muslim countries and beyond held demonstrations on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

They called for an end to Israel’s blockade and airstrikes following a brutal incursion into southern Israel by the Hamas fighters that rule Gaza. 

Israel has revealed it is expecting a ‘three-phase’ war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the first time the country has set out a long-term plan to deal with its bloodiest conflict in decades. 

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told Israeli lawmakers that the IDF expects to start its three-phase war with airstrikes and ground manoeuvres. 

The Israeli military then plans to move on to defeating pockets of resistance from Hamas fighters. 

Gallant said that once this has been completed, Israel’s ‘responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip’ will cease, following the warning it issued to Gazans to leave the country ‘immediately’. 

Currently, Israel controls around 90% of Gaza’s land and sea borders, and provides the Strip with much of its infrastructure, including electricity and water. Egypt controls Gaza’s southern border, and supports Israel’s blockade, seeing Hamas as a threat to its own safety and stability. 

Israel has cut supplies to Gaza since war broke out between itself and Hamas, and has not yet allowed humanitarian aid to be passed into the region.

As a result, food, clean water, medicine, electricity and fuel are in short supply in the small strip of land, leaving the remaining citizens in a dire situation. 

Natalie Shoshana Raanan (L) and Judith Tai Raanan speaking on the phone with US President Joe Biden, after being held hostage and later released by Hamas

Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan holding hands with Brig.-Gen. (Ret.) Gal Hirsch, Israel’s Coordinator for the Captives and Missing, after they were released by Hamas on October 20, 2023

A wounded Palestinian girl (pictured) waits for treatment in a hospital in Deir al-Balah, southern Gaza Strip

Israel says it wants to shirk its responsibility for the Gaza Strip once its military campaign is over

An arial view shows destoyed buildings in al-Zahra city south of Gaza City on October 20, 2023 following Israeli bombardment overnight amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas

Israel is preparing to bombard the small strip of land with missiles, before sending in ground troops

A column of Israeli tanks now sits on the border with Gaza, ready to invade

Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and scores of tanks and armoured vehicles are now positioned on the border

The massing of artillery and men at the border comes after heavy machine gunfire was heard along the border in the early hours of this morning

Israel says it’s entering Gaza to rescue the 203 hostages are being held captive by Hamas terrorists

Gaza’s two main sources of electricity, Israeli power lines and the Gaza power plant, have stopped functioning. Israel cut off Gaza’s electricity immediately after the Hamas attack on October 7, while the power plant stopped working after its fuel ran out. 

Gaza’s citizens have been forced to rely on small generators, fuel for which is rapidly diminishing due to the lack of outside supplies. 

READ MORE: Gaza civilians vow ‘death is better than leaving’ as many refuse to evacuate ‘hellhole’ despite Israel saying Hamas are using them as human shields, and UN warning ‘noose around the population is tightening’

Advertisement

Medics and aid groups have warned that hospitals, treating the thousands of people critically injured by Israeli airstrikes, are on the brink of running out of power. On Monday, the UN warned that hospitals in the region could run out of fuel in as little as 24 hours. 

The lack of electricity has also hampered search and rescue efforts. Palestine’s Civil Defence agency said that its workers are unable to find the huge number of people trapped under the rubble of their homes, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, without consistent power. 

Egypt has agreed to reopen its northern border with Gaza to allow desperately needed humanitarian aid to enter the war-torn enclave — but there are growing fears Hamas will steal it for themselves or use it as cover to bring in more weapons.

More than 200 trucks and some 3,000 tonnes of aid are now positioned at the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only connection to Egypt, to deliver food, water and medicine to the millions of civilians trapped there amid withering Israeli airstrikes.

But under the deal agreed by Egypt after intense talks with President Joe Biden on Thursday, only 20 trucks with humanitarian aid will be allowed into the enclave from Friday at the earliest amid fears that Hamas will confiscate the supplies.

Even before the latest blockade, Israel enforced a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposing severe restrictions on imports and exports as well as controlling who gets to go in and out of the 141 square mile region.

Before war broke out, the World Food programme estimated that over 60% of Gaza’s residents faced food insecurity, a problem that has only grown since October 7 when Israel cut off supplies. 

Even before the blockade, Israel enforced a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposing severe restrictions on imports and exports

Before war broke out, the World Food programme estimated that over 60% of Gaza’s residents faced food insecurity

Gaza has been battered by Israeli rockets and missiles since war broke out on October 7

An aerial view of people holding banners and flags during a protest held against Israel on its aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip on October 20, 2023 in Sana’a, Yemen.

People rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people to protest a strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, at the Parliament Square in Rabat, Morocco, 20 October 2023

Palestine’s food imports grew sharply over the past decade, according to World Bank figures, while the amount of food produced fell. 

Gaza’s fishing industry, which used to make up a significant part of the economy, has been restricted to just 6 miles of the Mediterranean Sea, with Israel’s navy blocking it to prevent weapons being smuggled into the region. 

Palestinians in Gaza are now being forced to severely ration food. One man told the Associated Press that the kilogram of bread he bought from one of the few bakeries still open would need to be shared with 20 to 30 members of his family. 

READ MORE: British-Palestinian girl breaks down in tears as she is ‘really in fear’ of dying in missile attack – as UK government tells Britons to prepare for Egypt border crossing to open

Advertisement

90% of Gaza’s fresh water supply was undrinkable before Israel cut the region off, according to Palestine’s water authority. 

The stark warning from Israel comes as columns of Israeli tanks massed on the Israel-Gaza border and thousands of soldiers readied themselves for battle on Friday as an invasion of the war-torn enclave appears imminent. 

Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and scores of tanks and armoured vehicles are now positioned on the border – ready for a ground assault on the Gaza Strip where 203 hostages are being held captive by Hamas terrorists. 

The massing of artillery and men at the border comes after heavy machine gunfire was heard along the border in the early hours of Friday morning.

Israel continued to pound Gaza with a relentless stream of airstrikes with the IDF saying their fighter jets hit over 100 ‘operational targets’ of Hamas terrorists overnight. The strikes destroyed tunnel shafts, munitions warehouses and dozens of operational headquarters, the IDF said. 

Israel also began evacuating a northern Israeli city near the Lebanese border in yet another sign of an impending ground invasion that could trigger turmoil across the Middle East.

The two million Palestinians trapped in the small enclave, where thousands have been killed and entire towns obliterated in the Israeli airstrikes, are now bracing themselves for the invasion that is expected to result in further major casualties. 

It comes after Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defence minister, on Thursday visited troops positioned along the Gaza border, and told them that they would soon see the Palestinian enclave ‘from inside’.

An infantry commander in the IDF told AlertContent.com on Thursday that they were ready to invade, adding there was ‘a very high level of optimism’ among his troops.

Israel’s leaders are determined to rid Gaza of its Hamas rulers, even if that means going house-to-house in an operation that could last ‘years’ and result in further major casualties among Palestinians. 

Israel says its invasion of Gaza will take place in three phases, and will end with it shirking its responsibility for the Strip’s citizens

The IDf’s three-phase war will begin with airstrikes and ground manoeuvres against Gaza

Israeli armoured vehicles gathered at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel on Friday 

Israeli tanks gathered at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

Israeli armoured vehicles gathered at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

Israeli armoured vehicles gathered at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

Israeli troops are seen patrolling near the border with Gaza on Thursday, ahead of the invasion

Israeli tanks seen on a road near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on Friday

Israeli soldiers listen to Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant as he meets them in a field near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on Thursday

Israeli soldiers prepare for the scenario of ground manoeuvres at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Friday shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike

People carry a dead body pulled from rubble as civil defense teams and residents continue search and rescue efforts in the historical Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church, where civilians took shelter, after Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Gaza on Friday 

A view of the site of Israeli strikes on a house in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip on Friday

Top war experts have warned that a conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip may become bloody and brutal. 

David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and the US’ top general in both Iraq and Afghanistan, warned that the IDF’s current plan of a bombing campaign followed by a major land invasion of the 140 square mile patch of land ‘could be Mogadishu on steroids very quickly’. 

The warning referenced the two-day battle between US forces and Somalia National Alliance (SNA) and armed citizens in Somalia’s capital city in 1993.

Three US Black Hawk choppers were downed by resistance forces, leading to bloody urban fighting over several hours that ended up being the deadliest single battle fought by US soldiers since the Vietnam War.

READ MORE: Gaza’s most tragic victim: Doctor places the body of an unborn child with her mother who died while seven-months pregnant alongside her two other daughters in Israeli airstrike 

Advertisement

Elsewhere, Israel continued to pound Gaza with withering airstrikes on Friday including parts of the south that Israel had declared ‘safe zones’, as the millions of Palestinians trapped in the enclave desperately awaited a first delivery of international emergency aid. 

In northern Gaza, Hamas terrorists accused Israel of committing war crimes after Israeli airstrikes hit an Orthodox Christian church where families had been sheltering. Gaza’s Hamas-run government media office said 18 Christian Palestinians had been killed, adding it was ‘a war crime that cannot be ignored’. 

Israel has said it is attacking Hamas terrorists wherever they may be in Gaza, describing them as ‘dead men walking’, and accused the group’s leaders and fighters of taking shelter among the civilian population. 

But Israel’s withering airstrikes have continued to obliterate entire neighbourhoods across the densely populated territory, leaving behind death and destruction.

Exhausted Palestinians desperately searched through the rubble of their homes for loved ones across Gaza this morning, their screams piercing the air as they found the lifeless bodies of their children, wives and parents.

In the nearly two weeks since Israel began its withering aerial bombardment in response to a devastating attack by Hamas terrorists that saw 1,300 people slaughtered, thousands of homes destroyed across the 25-mile enclave and 3,785 Palestinians killed, including 1,524 children. 

For the more than two million Palestinians trapped there, nowhere – and no one – seems to be safe from the relentless Israeli strikes. And doctors say they are fighting a losing battle against a lack of medicines, water and fuel to keep hospitals running.

Grief-stricken parents, their legs buckling beneath them as they see the bodies of their dead children, have become a familiar sight since the war started on October 7. 

Eight children aged between two and five were among 10 people from the same family killed in an air strike on a house in the city of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, early on Wednesday, relatives said. 

‘The children were asleep when they destroyed the house,’ their 67-year-old grandfather, Abu Mohammad Wafi al-Bakri, said. 

Diyala, Ayman, Hamada, Zaher, Uday, Jamal, Nabil and Acil all came from one extended family and all slept on the ground floor. It took an hour after the raid to find their bodies, rescuers said.

‘None of my children were linked to Palestinian organisations and no men were in the house at the time,’ said Jihad al-Bakri, father of three of the children.

He had left his home an hour before the missile hit to try to find water.

Rescue workers move debris at the site of Israeli strikes on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Friday 

Citing a deepening humanitarian crisis, the international community has urged Israel to minimise civilian casualties and allow desperately-needed aid to enter Gaza.

But the deal to get aid into Gaza through Rafah, the territory’s only crossing not controlled by Israel, remained fragile. Israel said the supplies could only go to civilians and that it would ‘thwart’ any diversions by Hamas. More than 200 trucks and some 3,000 tonnes of aid were positioned at or near Rafah. 

Work began on Friday to repair the road at the crossing that had been damaged in airstrikes, with trucks unloading gravel and bulldozers and other road repair equipment filling in large craters. 

But inside Israel, the drumbeat of war has only grown louder.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, rallied troops near Gaza on Thursday, suggesting the invasion was imminent. Decked in body armour, he vowed troops would ‘fight like lions’ and ‘win with full force’.

And Gallant banged the drum of war in a briefing to Israeli troops massed on the border with Gaza, telling them to ‘annihilate’ Hamas and that they will soon see the enclave ‘from the inside’. 

He told them: ‘Whoever sees Gaza from afar will soon see it from the inside. The command will come, I promise you. 

‘There is no forgiveness for this thing. Only total annihilation of Hamas organization – terror infrastructures, everything that has to do with terrorists and whoever sent them. 

‘It will take a week, it will take a month, it will take two months, until we annihilate them. You are not alone in battle. We trust you and count on you. Carry on training while there is time.’ 

A formation of Israeli tanks and other military is positioned near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, on Friday 

Israeli military convoys are seen on the move near the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Friday

Israeli soldiers prepare for the scenario of ground manoeuvres at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks during his visit to Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border on Thursday 

Israeli soldiers prepare for the scenario of ground manoeuvres at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, on Friday 

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Friday shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike

Palestinian man grieves over the body of a relative wrapped in a shroud labelled with a name, at the Najjar hospital in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday

Palestinian emergency services and local citizens search for victims in buildings destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday 

Palestinian emergency services and local citizens search for victims in buildings destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday

Palestinians search the destroyed annex of the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church, the oldest church still in use in Gaza, damaged in a strike on Gaza City on Friday 

Israel has refused to discuss plans for what will happen in Gaza after Hamas is toppled. President Joe Biden, who was in Israel on Wednesday, asked about a post-Hamas Gaza, and was reportedly told that all resources were currently focused on the invasion, rather than the day after. 

But several Israeli politicians have referenced creating an expanded demilitarised zone around the border.

When asked about the military’s movements, IDF spokesman Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus told CNN that the military was ready, but would not announce their invasion in advance.

He said: ‘The reserves are ready, equipped, mission-oriented, and standing by for the next stage of our operations,’ said Conricus. ‘But at this time, of course, we will not advertise when, where, and how we will advance or do or enhance our military activities.’

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Friday shows smoke ascending over the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike

A view of a damaged car covered in debris at the site of Israeli strikes on a house in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Friday

Egyptian members of the military sit in trucks as humanitarian aid from for Palestinians waits for the reopening of the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side to enter Gaza on Friday 

A view of humanitarian aid for Palestinians next to a plane, as officials wait to deliver aid to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Friday at Al Arish airport, Egypt

Biden addressed the American people from the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday night – only his second Oval Office address since becoming president

Nir Barkat, Israel’s economy minister, confirmed that the invasion had been approved, and now it was up to the military to decide when to strike.

‘The Israeli government made a decision, gave a green light to the army to wipe them out and now it’s in the hands of the army,’ he said.

Troops were not expected to enter while foreign leaders were visiting.

Biden left Israel on Wednesday evening. Prime minister, Rishi Sunak, visited on Thursday morning, and then left for Saudi Arabia.

Biden addressed the American people from the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday night – only his second Oval Office address since becoming president.

He used his speech to explain why the Israeli war, and the Ukraine battle, were so crucial to the United States.

Biden also urged implementation of a deal he brokered with Israel and Egypt to allow a limited amount of aid into Gaza from Friday.

‘The people of Gaza urgently need food, water and medicine,’ Biden said in a televised address from the Oval Office on his return from Tel Aviv.

But near Egypt’s border with Gaza, food, medicines, water purifiers and blankets have been piling up, with doubts growing that the Rafah crossing will open as planned.

‘We hope there will be a crossing tomorrow,’ World Health Organization (WHO) boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday.

‘But for sure, based on the experience we had the last few days, we are also at the same time worried whether this will happen.’

Meanwhile in Israel, one veteran IDF commander told AlertContent.com that his troops were ready to ‘wipe Hamas out’.

Eliezer, a major in the IDF who goes by Ezzy, and did not want to give his last name, is stationed in the south of Israel with the Golani Brigade – a group of reservists, often one of the first to be called up for active duty. 

Eliezer, a major in the IDF who goes by Ezzy, spoke to AlertContent.com from southern Israel

Ezzy said that his troops were clear about their mission and ready for the order to go in to Gaza 

Israeli tanks are seen moving along the Gaza border on Thursday

Ezzy signed up in 2004 and has served in the last four major wars in Israel, as an engineer, rabbi and commander.

His unit is designated to lead the forces of the Brigade – neutralising mine fields, creating new pathways, capturing bridgeheads, and detonating explosives, he told AlertContent.com.

The veteran IDF commander serves as a rabbi as well as an engineer in his unit

‘Without a question, this is different than any year,’ he said. ‘But morale is very high, very optimistic.’

Ezzy said the terror attacks of October 7 have galvanised his troops.

‘Obviously the first days we experienced the initial shock. Tonnes of mourning – but there wasn’t a lot of time to mourn,’ he said.

‘We didn’t know when we would go in, we thought we would go in to Gaza a lot earlier.’

Ezzy said there was a strong sense of purpose among the soldiers.

‘We are very close.

‘There’s a lot of brotherhood, and with time the spirit is going up – there’s a very high level of optimism.

‘I can’t remember Israel so united. More than ever I feel the support – we get messages.’

He said they appreciated international support for their war on Hamas.

‘I feel the world is united – it’s not just Jewish people. It’s anyone who understands there’s good and evil,’ he said.

‘They understand Israel is fighting for the good of this world – not just for Israel, but for light in this world.’

A picture taken from Sderot shows smoke plumes rising above buildings during an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, as Israel pummels Gaza in preparation for a land invasion

A fireball erupts during Israeli bombardment in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday

A Palestinian man uses a fire extinguisher to douse a fire following an Israeli strike on October 8 in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip

Avi Dichter, former commander of the Shin Bet domestic security agency, who now serves as the agriculture minister, is seen in Sderot on Thursday

And he said his troops were ready to go in to Gaza.

‘The soldiers are trained – they want to go in,’ he said, adding that they were spending their days ‘sharpening our skills on the planning and physical level’. 

‘They’re ready, but we take day by day,’ he added. We see every day that we don’t go in as a blessing because we can use it to train and to become better prepared.’

On Thursday, the Israeli army said it had destroyed a missile launch site and tunnels, claiming ‘more than 10 terrorists were eliminated’.

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7, much attention has been focused on Hezbollah

Last week, Iraqi armed forces aligned with Iran threatened to target US interests with missiles and drones if Washington intervened to support Israel against Hamas in Gaza

Ezzy said their mission was ‘clear’, describing the aims of the invasion as straightforward.

‘Hamas has to be wiped out,’ he said. ‘There’s no argument – it’s clear. We always knew what their (Hamas) intent was and now we know what their capabilities are.

READ MORE: Moment NBC’s longtime Middle East and Israeli correspondent breaks down on air as he reveals that two of his wife’s family members are among Hamas’ hostages in Gaza

Advertisement

‘We know we have to completely eradicate the enemy and that’s what we have to do. It’s unknown when exactly we will go in. We are taking it day by day.’

It comes as the Israeli army announced plans to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona on Friday, after days of clashes with Hezbollah terrorists along the border with Lebanon as fears grow of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

‘A short while ago, the Northern Command informed the mayor of the city of the decision. The plan will be managed by the local authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Defence,’ the military said in a statement. 

Days earlier, Israel evacuated 28 communities near the border.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which has a massive arsenal of long-range rockets, has traded fire with Israel along the border on a near-daily basis and hinted it might join the war if Israel seeks to annihilate Hamas. Israel’s archfoe Iran supports both armed groups. 

Israel’s military said its forces continued to target Hezbollah targets as tensions grew along the border.

‘The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) carried out a number of attacks against Hezbollah infrastructure, including observation posts,’ the army said early on Friday.

‘In addition, IDF fighter jets struck three terrorists who attempted to launch anti-tank missiles toward Israel.’

Israeli authorities have been steadily evacuating communities across the northern frontier, as reservists and columns of tanks and armoured vehicles poured into the area.

error: Content is protected !!