IDF conducts nighttime ground raid in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) executed a ground operation in Gaza, attacking positions of the Hamas terrorist group and setting the stage for future phases of conflict.

On Thursday morning, it was reported that the IDF had carried out a “targeted raid” into Gaza over the previous night. This maneuver involved infantry forces and armored units and was concentrated in the northern sector of the Gaza Strip. The action represents one of the most significant ground movements since the beginning of the current conflict, framed in preparations for a potential large-scale offensive against Hamas, the terrorist entity in control of Gaza.

The operation, coordinated by the Givati ​​infantry brigade and the 162nd Armored Division, had multiple objectives, including the neutralization of terrorists, the destruction of essential infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch positions—these efforts aimed to set up the battlefield for subsequent operations, as confirmed by IDF authorities.

After the incursion, the troops returned to Israeli territory without casualties. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesman, said that during the raid, they managed to eliminate direct threats, deactivate explosive devices and counter potential ambushes, all as a prelude to the next stages of the conflict.

This event is distinguished from the smaller and more frequent raids that the IDF has been carrying out near the border, mainly aimed at recovering Israeli citizens’ bodies and disposing of explosives left by Hamas terrorists since the September 7 attack. October.

IDF conducts nighttime ground raid in Gaza StripThis screenshot taken from footage distributed by the Israeli military on October 26, 2023 shows a “targeted raid” into northern Gaza with tanks and infantry. (Israeli army photo / AFP)

In the broader context, Israel maintains its stance that its fight is against the infrastructure of Iran-backed Hamas, with the stated intention of dismantling the terrorist organization, especially following the violent events of October 7, while simultaneously seeking to minimize the impact on civilians in Gaza.

In a recent escalation, Hamas, along with other terrorist groups, orchestrated a massive assault involving approximately 2,500 terrorists who crossed the Gaza border into Israel, massacred more than 1,400 people and captured 228 hostages under the cover of intense launching rockets toward Israeli towns.

As part of the developing tactics, the IDF has urged civilians in northern Gaza to move south, anticipating intensified operations in the vicinity of Gaza City. In the past 24 hours, Israeli aircraft have struck over 250 Hamas-linked sites, including key infrastructure, command and control centers, tunnels and rocket launch sites.

The IDF claims that Navy forces attacked a Hamas surface-to-air missile launching position in Khan Younis.

Additionally, Israeli naval forces neutralized a Hamas missile launch pad located near civilian facilities in Khan Yunis, demonstrating the continuity of military operations on various fronts.

Since the start of the current conflict, the Israeli Air Force has struck more than 10,000 sites of Hamas and other terrorist groups. According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, the attacks have caused 6,546 deaths, including civilians and children. These figures, presented by the terrorist organization, lack independent verification.

An increase in the number of deaths is anticipated with the upcoming launch of Israel‘s ground offensive. The military will face significant challenges, such as an underground network of tunnels, booby traps, and fighting in dense urban areas in Gaza.

Since October 7, Gaza has seen thousands of rockets fired towards Israel, causing deaths and injuries. After a brief pause, rocket attacks recently resumed.

In preparation for the escalation, civilians have been evacuated from key Israeli areas while troops amassed on the border with Gaza. Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi mentioned that the delay in the full offensive is due to “tactical and strategic considerations.”

Recent reports indicate that Israel agreed to a US request to postpone the raid, allowing time to strengthen US air defenses in the region. Additionally, there are concerns about the clarity of Israel‘s military objectives and its preparation for the raid.

In parallel, intensive negotiations have been held for the release of hostages held by Hamas, with some recent successes, such as the release of four individuals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the ground offensive is imminent, reiterating a commitment to dismantle Hamas and rescue the hostages. However, he refrains from providing specific details to protect operational security.

In a turn of events, Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas official, declared that the real battles had not yet begun.