Perhaps wanting to show the public and the world that the ground incursion is still going to happen, and following widespread reports that Washington successfully got Netanyahu to stall the offensive – also as hostage negotiations involving Qatar are likely ongoing – the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have published footage of an overnight limited raid in Gaza which relied on military bulldozers and tanks.
Infantry forces were transported by a column of tanks to up to kilometer into the northern part of the Strip, according to a Thursday morning IDF statement. The IDF said it suffered no casualties during the raid, which lasted a few hours, and appeared fundamentally to be a clearing operation.
Footage has been released showing the Armored Assault last night by the Israeli Defense Force into the Northern Gaza Strip involving a number of Merkava Mark lV Main Battle Tanks, Caterpillar D9 Armored-Bulldozers, and Puma Armored-Engineering Vehicles; during the Assault the… pic.twitter.com/s3JCgtk0N3
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) October 26, 2023
“Through the raid, we eliminated terrorists, neutralized threats, dismantled explosives, neutralized ambushes, in order to enable the next stages of the war for the ground forces,” announced IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.
The statement further said that “numerous” Hamas terrorists were taken out, as well as anti-tank positions, but most importantly the operation was to “prepare the battlefield” by forging a wider, direct path.
The Givati infantry brigade and the 162nd Armored Division led the raid, which the IDF further acknowledged as crucial to setting up for the “next stages of the war.” Hagari said, touting its ‘success’ further, “we eliminated terrorists, neutralized threats, dismantled explosives, neutralized ambushes, in order to enable the next stages of the war for the ground forces.”
While “localized raids” have been occurring since the Oct.7 Hamas assault, also as part of intelligence gathering operations for information on the whereabouts of hostages – or even body retrieval – this one is being called the biggest and deepest yet in terms of breaching Gaza Strip territory.
Israeli aerial operations meanwhile have continued in airstrikes on the Strip at an unprecedented rate. This is causing a growing international outcry, especially from Arab leaders in the region, as Gaza health authorities have said the death toll has surpassed 7,000. They estimate that nearly 3,000 of those killed are children.
Amnesty International has condemned the “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe” and is urging an immediate ceasefire, which on the other side has included daily Hamas rockets, launched deeper and deeper into Israel.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnes Callamard pointed out there have been “Serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, by all parties to the conflict continue unabated. In the face of such unprecedented devastation and suffering, humanity must prevail.”
Amnesty additionally said that any major Israeli ground offensive will have “cataclysmic consequences for Gaza’s civilians.” But so far Israeli leadership have not backed off what they say are confirmed plans for an offensive, but with no timetable as of yet, but which will be arrived at by consensus.