Like the bombing of underground targets that shake the depths and surface of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s first major incursion had as its main objective prepare the ground to launch the offensive ground in what will be a new phase of the war unleashed after the attack by the Islamist group Hamas on October 7.
Led by the Givati Mechanized Infantry Brigade, with air support and with the participation of tanks for the first time, soldiers entered northern Gaza where they stayed for several hours before returning to Israeli territory. “Our forces killed numerous terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure and anti-tank missile positions,” said Army spokesman Daniel Hagari, who once again asked the inhabitants of the northern part of the Palestinian strip to go south. According to him, Hamas troops are trying to avoid it by force.
The “selective” operation this morning is one more step by the Tsáhal in its preparations for what it calls “new phases of the war.” It was not, therefore, the thousand-times announced large-scale land incursion but neither was it the specific entries made to date intended only to obtain information about missing people and kidnappings in the attack by the fundamentalist group that caused 1,400 dead in southern Israel.
“This important but limited operation is another resource used to improve the conditions (of the soldiers) in the next stages of the campaign,” military sources point out about an invasion that expects to encounter numerous explosives and ambushes prepared by the armed wing of Hamas. An airstrike killed its ‘number two’ in Intelligence Shadi Barud, according to Israel, which accused him of “planning the barbaric 7-O attacks together with Sinwar (leader of Hamas) and was responsible in the past for numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians”.
For now, the ground offensive is being delayed to maintain the window of opportunity for the release of a large part of the soldiers in the next two or three days. 224 kidnapped in the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.