More and more Israeli troops have been entering the Gaza Strip for a week. The military recently fought battles with the militant Islamist Hamas in the region around Gaza City – and has now apparently encircled the city.
The Israeli military says it has encircled the city of Gaza. “The troops have completed the encirclement of Gaza City, the center of the Hamas terrorist organization,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told the press last night.
The Israeli soldiers fought “direct battles with Hamas terrorists” in the region around the city, he said. The soldiers fought “the terrorists with the help of artillery fire and tanks,” and a helicopter and a naval boat were also deployed. The military and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously described the stages of the advance on Gaza City over the course of the day.
Hamas threatens Israeli military
According to the AFP news agency, Hamas’s military wing threatened almost immediately that the invasion of the Gaza Strip would turn into a “curse” for the Israeli troops. “Even more of their soldiers will return home in body bags,” said a spokesman for the Kassam Brigades.
Israel has increased its attacks on the Gaza Strip in recent days and, in the last week, has allowed more and more ground troops to enter the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas. According to the Israeli military, “dozens” of enemy fighters were killed on Thursday. The ground offensive is increasingly focused on the north of the coastal strip, where Hamas has its headquarters in Gaza. Israel has called on civilians to leave the north of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu declared: “We are at the height of the battle.”
Conflict parties as a source
In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by the Palestinian and Israeli conflict parties cannot be directly verified by an independent body.