Roughly three weeks after Hamas launched a terrorist attack on southern Israel, prompting a siege and bombing campaign against Gaza, Israeli authorities have announced that the war is entering a new phase.
Israel has been conducting some incursions into Gaza in recent weeks, reportedly in an effort to locate some of the more than 200 hostages taken captive, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening that more ground forces are now entering the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory.
“This is the second stage of the war, the goals of which are clear: Destroying Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, and bringing the captives back home,” Netanyahu said, according to a readout posted on social media. “We made the decision to expand ground operations unanimously, both in the War Cabinet and in the Security Cabinet. We did this in a balanced and considered way, based on a commitment to ensure both the destiny of the state and the security of our soldiers.”
“The commanders and soldiers are now fighting on enemy territory knowing that the people and the leadership of the people are behind them,” he added.
International observers have been anxiously waiting to see when a full-scale invasion would be launched. Israel Defense Forces has on multiple occasions warned the more than 1 million Palestinians living in northern Gaza to flee to the south, which has prompted an exodus amid Israel’s ongoing bombing campaign, The Guardian reported.
The Health Ministry in Gaza claimed that the death toll in the Hamas-controlled territory has surpassed 7,700, per the Associated Press.
“In the face of this dramatic armed conflict, what is critically needed now is adherence to international humanitarian law by all parties. An unhindered flow of humanitarian relief and personnel into Gaza is vital, as is the capacity to get basic services on their feet again. Sustained humanitarian access is imperative, and aid workers must be able to operate in a safe environment,” said Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, terrorists affiliated with Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people —the vast majority of whom were civilians — and abducting more than 200 others who were subsequently transported into the Gaza Strip. Israel retaliated by declaring war and unleashing airstrikes on the Palestinian territory.
“The war inside the Gaza Strip will be long and difficult — and we are ready for it. This is our second war of independence. We will fight to defend our homeland,” Netanyahu said.