Israeli forces raid Gaza strip ahead of “next stages of combat”

Israeli troops carried out a "targeted raid" with tanks in northern Gaza on Thursday before withdrawing from the enclave, according to the Israel army. Around 7,000 people have died in Israeli relentless strikes on Gaza since October 7.

Video published by the IDF showed tanks and armored vehicles, including a bulldozer, moving on a road near a fence. The tanks fired artillery, and some destruction could be seen nearby.

The IDF said the raid was “part of preparations for the next stages of combat.”

“The soldiers exited the area at the end of the activity,” the statement added.

IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner described the raid as large but limited in scope, stating it was “a clear and sweep operation intended to create better terms for ground operations if and when that comes in.”

“We actually engaged the enemy, killing terrorists who were planning to conduct attacks against us with anti-tank guided missiles,” he told stated.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, the armed group that controls Gaza, in response to its October 7 deadly attacks and kidnap rampage in which 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

In a televised address Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israeli is “preparing for a ground incursion”, into Gaza following nearly three weeks of airstrikes on the coastal strip.

The Israeli strikes have killed more than 6,500 people, and injured a further 17,000, according to information from Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza and published by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

Limited skirmishes between Israel and Hamas militants have already taken place on the ground in Gaza. An Israeli soldier killed in a clash with Hamas on Sunday is the first publicly announced Israeli military death inside the enclave since October 7, the IDF confirmed Tuesday.

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