Thursday, June 20, 2024

Hamas says its fighters foiled Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza Strip

Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, has announced they have “foiled an Israeli ground incursion into Beit Hanoun and the east of Bureij”, adding that “violent clashes” have taken place in the Gaza Strip.

A senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, has said that Israel was attempting “to create an image of victory”.

“Cutting off communications from the Gaza Strip is an attempt to cover up the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation without any oversight or accountability,” Hamdan added.

Hamas has also announced Israel is trying to project itself as the victor in its ongoing war against the Gaza Strip by intensifying its aggression against the besieged territory, while the resistance is on course to score a “heroic epic” in the battle.

“The terrorist criminal [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is trying to create an image of victory by putting pressure on the popular cradle in Gaza and intensifying his terrorist aggression against the strip,” Hamdan stated.

He, however, added that “with the dawn hours approaching, the world will see the effects of the heroic epic that the resistance fighters fought in Gaza.”

The regime has been waging a relentless war against Gaza since October 7, when Hamas and its fellow Gaza-based resistance movement of the Islamic Jihad launched their biggest operation against the occupying entity in years. The surprise Palestinian offensive, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, came in response to the regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

The death toll in Gaza since the start of Israeli aggression has reached over 7,400 with more than 20,500 wounded.

Hamdan said, “Israel says that tonight’s operation is not the planned ground invasion so as not to put itself in an embarrassing situation when it fails.”

He also noted that the regime had cut off communications to the Gaza Strip in an attempt to obscure its crimes by evading oversight or accountability.

“The criminal Zionist (Netanyahu) is trying to isolate Gaza from the world to prevent the transfer of images of his terrorist crimes against the innocent to the outside world, and he will not succeed in that, God willing.”

Izzat al-Rishq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, has also said Friday that Hamas is ready to defeat Israeli forces if they enter the Gaza Strip.

“If Netanyahu decides to enter [ground troops into] Gaza by land tonight, the resistance is ready,” al-Rishq stated

His comments come after Israel announced it was expanding ground operations in the enclave.

Israeli ground troop will “expand” their activity in the Gaza Strip on Friday night, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari has told reporters. Israrli military aircraft subjected the besieged enclave to some of the heaviest bombardment to date ahead of the ground operation.

“The air force is striking underground targets very significantly,” Hagari said at a briefing on Friday evening, adding that ground forces will “expand” their raids into Gaza later in the night.

Israeli soldiers have conducted several limited raids into the strip over the last two days but no major offensive has been announced.

Hagari’s statement is the clearest sign since the beginning of the conflict on October 7 that an invasion – which the IDF has been preparing to launch for almost three weeks – is imminent.

In a statement on Friday morning, the IDF claimed that its tanks and infantry had moved into central Gaza the previous day and destroyed “dozens of terrorist targets, including positions for launching anti-tank missiles and operational headquarters”, as well as Hamas fighters. Israeli forces withdrew after the raid with no casualties, the IDF added.

A video posted to X (formerly Twitter) by the IDF showed helicopter gunships destroying buildings as troops and tanks fired their weapons below.

Hamas claimed that its fighters engaged the Israelis with gunfire and anti-tank missiles, forcing them to flee back to Israeli territory.

Hagari and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have warned for several weeks that the IDF is ready to launch an invasion of Gaza, with Gallant declaring on Sunday that “there will be no Hamas” left after the operation. However, the Israeli government has not given the order to invade, and media reports have suggested that the US is pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the operation so that Qatari-brokered talks aimed at freeing some of the roughly 200 hostages in Hamas captivity can proceed.

American officials are “also concerned… that the Israel Defense Forces do not yet have a clear military pathway to achieve…Netanyahu’s goal of eradicating Hamas”.

More than 7,000 people, including 3,000 children, have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since October 7, according to the most recent figures from the Gaza Health Ministry.

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