Israeli army ‘expands’ operations in Gaza, says officials

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Tel Aviv [Israel]: The Israeli military reported on Saturday that it has enlarged its combat operations inside the Gaza Strip following several nights of limited ground incursions.

Reports from the Gaza Strip said that Israeli ground forces were accompanied by tanks. Heavy exchanges of small arms fire could be heard.

Also, internet and phone services were down across Gaza.

“The Air Force is striking underground targets very significantly,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari on Friday night.

“In addition to the attacks that we carried out in recent days, ground forces are expanding their activity this evening. The IDF is acting with great force… to achieve the objectives of the war.”

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday and Thursday, IDF infantry forces and tanks undertook limited operations in the Gaza Strip.

Hagari added that the IDF will continue to target Gaza City and areas throughout northern Gaza. He again urged Palestinians to move to safety in the southern Gaza Strip.

“We are prepared to defend in all arenas. We are acting in order to protect the security interests of the State of Israel,” Hagari said.

However, both US and Israeli officials told American reporters that Friday’s Israeli ground incursion into Gaza was not the beginning of the large-scale offensive Israel will undertake to eliminate the Hamas presence.

On October 7, some 2,500 terrorists invaded Israel by land, sea, and air, killing over 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

Additionally, over 230 Israeli hostages were taken back to the Gaza Strip. Among the hostages are 30 children.

Also, IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said Friday’s Gaza fighting was not the major operation planned by Israel.

Additionally, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby would not comment on Israel’s fighting in Gaza. He also confirmed that the United States would not draw “red lines” to restrict Israel during the upcoming battle.

“We’re not drawing red lines for Israel,” Kirby told reporters on Friday. “We’re going to continue to support them,” but “since the very beginning, we have, and will continue to have, conversations about the manner that they are doing this.”

Also, on Friday night, cities in central and south Israel reported missile attacks by Hamas.

In the central city of Rishon Lezion, a foreign worker was reported to have been lightly wounded after a rocket struck a farm, according to medics.

Also, rockets fired from Gaza struck a home and an outdoor shelter in Sderot. No one was harmed, said officials.

Thousands of rockets have been launched by Hamas terrorists at Israel since October 7, with dozens of Israelis having been killed and injured. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have had to remain in shelters, while hundreds of thousands of children saw schools shut.

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