Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday to “demolish Hamas” as Israeli forces prepared to move into the Gaza Strip in pursuit of Islamist militants.
Israel has told Palestinians to evacuate south in the Gaza Strip. In the enclave, where conditions are deteriorating and deaths from Israeli air strikes are rising, civilians said they were not safe anywhere, according to media reports. Militant group Hamas has told them to ignore Israel’s message to evacuate and move south.
The Israeli military said its forces were preparing to implement a “wide range of operational offensive plans” amid heightened expectations of an imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip, a week after Hamas gunmen launched a devastating attack on Israel.
Israeli forces were increasing operational readiness for the next stages of the war, “with an emphasis on significant ground operations,” according to a statement from the military.
The Israel Defense Forces said it hit “dozens of military headquarters, a series of military observation posts, and a number of rocket launching posts used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations,” according to the reports.
Hamas controls Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians. At least 2,600 people have died in Gaza in retaliatory strikes by Israel, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The ministry has slammed Israel for killing civilians and emergency workers in its assault, according to reports.
Israel has told the 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to leave home for their safety as it gears up for the next stages of its conflict with Hamas.
Meanwhile, Axios reported that Israel and the U.S. are discussing a possible visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to Israel later this week, citing three Israeli and U.S. officials. The Israeli officials said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Biden to Israel during their phone call on Saturday, according to the report.
The European Commission is tripling its humanitarian assistance to Gaza as the bloc comes under mounting pressure to present a coherent policy on the Israel-Gaza crisis. The EU’s executive arm will increase its humanitarian funding to Gaza from €25 million to €75 million.