Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant said on Friday that his country intends to launch a ground offensive soon. The information about the entry of troops into the Gaza Strip is confirmed by the spokesman of the Israeli army, and the BBC reports explosions and clouds of smoke rising over the horizon. No means of communication were working before the evening, the British station reported. Cutting off telecommunications and the Internet in the Gaza Strip, which is under heavy shelling by the Israeli military, could “serve as cover for mass atrocities,” Human Rights Watch has warned.
“The New York Times” in an interview with a spokesman for the Israeli army determined that some Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip. – Our soldiers and tanks are in the Gaza Strip. They shoot and act, said Major Nir Dinar. – But yesterday our soldiers and tanks were also in Gaza – he added, avoiding the question whether what is happening in the Gaza Strip is the beginning of an Israeli ground offensive.
In the darkness, you can see explosions over the Gaza Strip and clouds of smoke rising over the horizon, but there is no communication with the people there, the BBC reported on Friday evening, when the Israeli army announced the expansion of operations in the Gaza Strip.
Approximately At 10.30 p.m. local time (9.30 p.m. in Poland), the BBC published a recording of several subsequent explosions. She recorded a similar sight about 40 minutes later.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, announced on Saturday morning that its forces had encountered Israeli troops in the northern part of the Palestinian exclave and that they were ready to oppose a ground offensive. Israel – reported the website of the Jerusalem Post daily.
According to reports from the Palestinian side, fighting between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and Hamas fighters is taking place between the city of Beit Hanoun and the al-Burayj refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
A few hours earlier, Palestinian media reported that Israeli tanks were taking positions in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, on Friday evening, the Israeli Air Force began attacking Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip.
Shortly before 2 a.m. local time, sirens sounded in Moshav Netiv HaAsara, bordering the northern Gaza Strip.
Gaza Strip cut off from communications
The BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent Tom Bateman reported that he had been unable to contact his interlocutors in Gaza via WhatsApp three hours earlier. Attempts to call via mobile phone also did not work, and sent text messages did not arrive.
By evening, no communications were working and live footage showed complete darkness except for flashes and fireballs in the distance, BBC correspondent Mehdi Mousavi reported.
Photos of explosions in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, caused by Israeli aircraft fire, were published by Al-Jazeera television on Friday evening. This station’s correspondent Tareq Abu Azzoum, who is based in the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip and broadcast from there via satellite, said that “the Gaza Strip is completely cut off from the world.”
Telecommunications companies operating in the Gaza Strip announced on Friday evening that cellphones and the Internet had stopped working due to intense bombing. At the same time, the Israeli army announced that the military operation in Gaza would be expanded that night.
“This blocking of access to information may serve as a cover for mass atrocities and contribute to impunity for human rights violations,” the organization wrote in a statement. human rights Human Rights Watch.
Israel announces a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip
Israeli Defense Minister Yaow Galant, who spoke to a group of foreign correspondents in Tel Aviv on Friday, said the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip would be carried out after several weeks of air attacks on the enclave.
He noted that due to Hamas’ extensive network of underground tunnels, “it will take a long time” before Israeli forces can begin the second phase of the operation. The second, “low-intensity” phase is to eliminate smaller “resistance centers” of Hamas, Galant explained.
– We are increasing the pressure on Hamas and have started military operations – said Mark Regev, an adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel, quoted by Fox News on Friday evening. He added that “when this is over, Gaza will be completely different.”
– Tonight Hamas will feel our wrath, Regev said in an interview with the American television MSNB. He said Hamas would pay for its crimes against humanity. “Tonight we start paying him back,” he added. A little earlier, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced the expansion of the military operation in Gaza on Friday night.
– If (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin – ed.) Netanyahu decides to enter Gaza tonight, the resistance movement is ready, said a Hamas representative.
Main photo source: EPA