Israel postpones ground operation in Gaza – NYT
Israel has decided to put off the start of its ground operation against Hamas in Gaza due to adverse weather conditions, the New York Times has claimed. The newspaper is also reporting that the incursion will likely come at quite a price for the Israeli military, given its scope as well as the fortifications built by the militants.
In an article on Saturday the media outlet alleged, citing anonymous Israeli officers, that the “invasion was initially planned for the weekend but was delayed by a few days, at least in part because of weather conditions.” These are so far precluding Israeli pilots and drone operators from providing ground forces with air cover, the NYT explained.
It quoted three unnamed Israeli officers as confirming that the imminent operation would involve tens of thousands of service members, including commando units, and tanks supported by warplanes, helicopter gunships, drones and artillery fired from land and sea. The alleged goal is the complete destruction of Hamas’ leadership, which has controlled the enclave since 2007.
The planned ground operation is expected to be the largest of its kind in over a decade, the NYT report continues, adding that it remains unclear if the IDF is planning to take control of only part of the densely-populated enclave or all of it. There is also a big question mark over whether Israelis are going to run Gaza or install a new Palestinian administration should they succeed in removing Hamas from power there, it wrote.
As for the imminent incursion itself, the anonymous Israeli officers told the NYT that it is likely to take months and to exact a large number of casualties on their side, as they will have to clear a vast network of Hamas’ underground tunnels.
Commenting on the ongoing Israeli air raids against Hamas on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country had unleashed “unprecedented force.” He stressed, however, that “this is just the beginning,” adding that “our enemies have only started paying the price.”
According to the latest estimates, Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 has resulted in at least 1,300 people killed, with nearly 3,500 injured. Dozens of people, both Israelis and other nationals, were taken hostage by the militants.
In Gaza, at least 1,900 Palestinians, including 614 children and 370 women, have been killed in the ensuing massive Israeli airstrikes over the past week, the Palestinian Health Ministry has reported.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned on Saturday that his country would respond should Israel go ahead with a ground operation in Gaza.