Israeli Army Prepares for Significant Ground Operations in Gaza

Israeli Army Prepares for Significant Ground Operations in Gaza

The Israeli army has announced its preparations for "significant ground operations" in Gaza, marking a crucial development in the ongoing conflict. This move comes a week after a devastating attack by Hamas militants in southern Israel, which has been described as one of the worst in the nation's history.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the next phase of the conflict may involve a coordinated assault on land, sea, and air. These preparations reflect the gravity of the situation and the challenges ahead.

Israel has called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists, indicating the scale of the operation. In response to a large-scale incursion by over 1,000 Hamas fighters who crossed the border and attacked Israeli military posts, bases, and settlements, more than 1,300 Israelis have tragically lost their lives. The majority of the casualties are civilians, and approximately 150 people have been abducted and taken into Gaza.

The toll on the Palestinian side is also distressing, with over 1,900 fatalities reported in the Israeli bombing campaign. Concerns are mounting as Israel contemplates sending ground troops into the densely populated coastal strip, home to 2.3 million people. To mitigate potential humanitarian crises, Israel has given Palestinians living in Gaza a 24-hour notice to evacuate their homes.

Hamas, designated as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and the European Union, claims that Israeli airstrikes have killed nine more of its members in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 26.

In response to the escalating situation, several governments, including the United States and European countries, are rushing to evacuate their citizens in anticipation of a potential Israeli incursion into Gaza. However, reports suggest that the Rafah border crossing out of Gaza to Egypt is currently closed to foreign nationals.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel is actively working on potential departure options for those in Gaza. U.S. citizens living in or visiting Gaza may have the opportunity to leave on Saturday, according to a U.S. official. The embassy is also facilitating additional chartered evacuation flights from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport and strongly encourages U.S. citizens and their immediate family members to utilize these flights while they are available.

Israeli Army Prepares for Significant Ground Operations in Gaza

The situation has disrupted commercial flights to Israel, leading European countries like France and Germany to provide planes to evacuate their citizens from the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, during a visit to Cairo, reported that 30 Turkish dual citizens have successfully left Gaza. Israel and Egypt have been provided with a list of approximately 270 individuals who remain in this category.

The U.S. President Joe Biden and his team have expressed concern about Israel's 24-hour evacuation demand, a deadline that the European Union and the United Nations have called unrealistic. President Biden emphasized that the majority of Palestinians have no association with Hamas and should not be overlooked.

In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israel to abide by humanitarian law and take measures to protect civilians. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a separate call with Netanyahu, emphasized the importance of safeguarding civilians in Gaza and expressed solidarity with the people of Israel.

The situation remains fluid, with the world watching closely as developments unfold. The Israeli army's preparations signify a critical phase in the conflict, and the international community is hoping for a peaceful resolution.

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