Israel’s defense minister told ground troops to be ready to enter the Gaza Strip, though he didn't say when the invasion will start.
In a meeting with Israeli infantry soldiers on the Gaza border Thursday, Yoav Gallant urged the forces to “get organized, be ready” for an order to move in.
“Whoever sees Gaza from afar now, will see it from the inside,” he said. “I promise you.”
Israel has massed tens of thousands of troops along the border following a bloody Oct. 7 cross-border massacre by Hamas militants.
Israeli airstrikes pounded locations across the Gaza Strip on Thursday, including parts of the south that Israel had declared as safe zones, heightening fears among more than 2 million Palestinians trapped in the territory that nowhere was safe.
With authorities still working out logistics for a delivery of aid into Gaza from Egypt, overwhelmed hospitals tried to stretch out ebbing medical supplies and fuel for diesel generators to keep the equipment running. Doctors in darkened wards stitched wounds by mobile phone light. A doctor at the largest hospital said staff were using vinegar from the corner store to treat infected wounds.
The Israeli military has relentlessly attacked Gaza in retaliation for a devastating Hamas rampage in southern Israel almost two weeks ago. Even after Israel told Palestinians to evacuate the north of Gaza and take refuge in the south, strikes extended across the territory and Palestinian militants continued firing rockets into Israel.
Israel’s consent for Egypt to let in food, water and medicine provided the first possibility for an opening in its sealing off of the territory. Many among Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are down to one meal a day and drinking dirty water.
More than 1 million Palestinians, roughly half of Gaza’s population, have fled their homes in Gaza City and other places in the northern part of the territory since Israel told them to evacuate. Most have crowded into U.N.-run schools-turned-shelters or the homes of relatives.
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