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Israel expects 'prolonged' Gaza ground war, targets Hamas commandos, bases

The IDF says it is completing its preparations for a ground entry into Gaza, with aerial strikes on specific locations that could endanger ground troops.
Soldiers sit on an artillery unity near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, in Netivot, Israel, Oct. 22, 2023.

SDEROT, Israel — Two weeks have passed since the Hamas attack Oct. 7, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are completing preparations for the next phase of the fighting that will include an extensive ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. 

Over the years, the IDF has had contingency plans for an extensive attack on Gaza, but even the worst-case scenario did not entail having to occupy Gaza in order to oust Hamas. 

In recent days, the Israeli air force attacked dozens of high-rise buildings in the northern Gaza Strip in preparation for the ground operation, including buildings that may be used by Hamas as observation posts or as sniper positions. In parallel, special IDF forces and armor troops continue raids in Gaza, in the area near the border, in search of bodies of Israelis who are considered missing, said the IDF. 

Evidently, the Israeli leadership won’t divulge when the ground operation will be launched, nor its modalities. The IDF said last Saturday that it continues preparing for the expected ground offensive, with “plans for the expansion of the fighting” being approved in recent days. Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed so far to the Gaza border. 

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