Ashkelon, Oct 22 (IANS) Israel has been coming under intense pressure from allies and Israeli families to delay a ground attack until hostages are freed, including foreign nationals, the media reported.
“We have never announced there is going to be a ground operation,” insisted Israeli Defence Forces spokesman, Lt Col Peter Lerner, the BBC reported.
As for the hundreds of thousands of IDF reservists along the Gaza border, Lerner said they were “currently being trained, equipped, and also tasked if they need to mobilise with specific tasks that will help us achieve our goal to destroy Hamas once and for all”.
In recent days, IDF spokesmen have emphasised the current focus is intensifying airstrikes before “the next stage of the war”.
There seemed to be the clearest signal yet on Saturday from the IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi: “We’ll enter Gaza, we’ll enter for an operational mission.”
Observers say that could first involve limited raids, BBC reported.
It is clearly a consideration, although Israeli officials also accuse Hamas of trying to buy time. And there is a chorus of voices urging Israel to allow more desperately needed aid to enter Gaza, even to agree a humanitarian ceasefire.
That is not on Israel’s agenda after the Hamas attacks of 7 October.
The IDF said on Sunday evening that an Israeli tank “accidentally fired and hit an Egyptian post” near Kerem Shalom in the Egypt-Gaza-Israel tri-border area.
“The incident is being investigated and the details are under review. The IDF expresses sorrow regarding the incident,” a statement read, YNet News reported.
Hezbollah announced on Sunday afternoon that two of its members, Ali Muhammad Marmar and Taha Abbas, were killed in an IDF strike in Lebanon.
According to reports, 10 operatives of the Lebanese terrorist group were killed in Israeli strikes on Saturday and Sunday.