Israel’s defense minister announced on Saturday that the war against Hamas has entered a “new stage” following expanded ground operations that were launched against Gaza beginning on Friday.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in televised remarks that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had expanded ground operations against Gaza by sending in tanks and infantry backed by large strikes from the air and sea, according to The Associated Press.  However, an IDF spokesperson told ABC News on Friday that the expanded ground operations were not the anticipated full-on military invasion of Gaza.

“We moved to the next stage in the war,” Gallant said. “Last evening, the ground shook in Gaza. We attacked above ground and underground…The instructions to the forces are clear. The campaign will continue until further notice.”

Gallant said on Friday that he anticipated that a ground invasion into Gaza would be difficult, and that the ground invasion would begin soon, according to the AP. “It will take a long time” to destroy Hamas’ wide-ranging network of tunnels, Gallant said.

Gaza residents described Friday’s bombardments as the most intense of the three-week old war, according to the AP. These Israeli strikes knocked out most communications in Gaza, while also targeting several of Hamas’ tunnels and underground bunkers, according to the AP.

The IDF on Saturday released images of Israeli tanks entering open ground in Gaza, which appeared to be near the Israeli-Gaza border. “We are conducting out sweep and clear activities in order to create better conditions for optimal operation conditions on the ground, IDF spokesperson Peter Lerner told ABC News on Friday.

The Israeli strikes on Friday knocked out internet connections in Gaza and caused the largest outage of the war so far, according to The Washington Post. “We are beefing up pressure on Hamas. We’re increasing pressure that they’re under,” Mark Regev, an advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News on Friday. “Our military operations are underway,” Regev added.

Israel’s military operations against Gaza are in response to Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel that began on Oct.7 and led to the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, and the capturing of over 200 hostages, four of whom have since been released by Hamas.

Ryan Meilstrup on October 28, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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