By Athena Papakosta

The Israeli army on Friday night expanded its ground operations in the Gaza Strip while, at the same time, relentlessly pounding the Palestinian enclave. As they emphasized in their relevant announcements, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are targeting the underground, tunnels, command centers and infrastructure of Hamas.

24 hours later, on Saturday night, the Israeli prime minister spoke, Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared Israel’s “second war of independence.” As he characteristically pointed out, the road will be “long and difficult” but “we will win”. “This is a battle of good against evil,” he said. For his part, Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Galand, made it clear that the ongoing operation is a “national priority.”

Three weeks of war

Three weeks of war have already been completed and today dawns the 24th day of hostilities. Israel is again asking those who have not left the northern part of the Gaza Strip to head towards the southern part of the enclave. However, according to the UN, 700,000 civilians remain trapped in the north who have nowhere to turn to.

Israel’s expanded operation is evolving into a large-scale ground operation with the IDF spokesman informing through new announcements that Israeli forces inside the enclave are being further strengthened by strengthening those already operating inside the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s first strategic goal is occupation of the district of Beit Hanun to the east of Gaza City. The fighting is raging with Israeli tanks firing and artillery and air force pounding positions of Hamas gunmen.

For their part, the Al-Qassad Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas, in turn confirmed the armed clashes by publishing videos from the northwestern part of the Gaza Strip while Musa Mohammed Abu Marzouk, the senior Hamas official , warns Israel that “we are ready to fight a long war” adding that “Israel will not be able to fight much longer.”

In new statements last night, the IDF announced that it had “eliminated dozens of terrorists” during Sunday’s ongoing airstrikes to “ensure the safety of Israeli ground forces and neutralize terrorist infrastructure.” .

As he explained, “the ground operation is complicated” adding that Hamas gunmen “commit war crimes” and “use the Palestinians cynically, as human shields”.

As the phalanxes of the Israeli army penetrate deeper into new positions within its Strip, the risk of spillover to the ongoing war remains, steadfastly, the greatest political and diplomatic challenge of the day.

In its first reaction after the start – against Israel – of the second phase of the war, Tehran warns that “Israel crossed the red lines and forces everyone to take action”. For his part, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is requesting an emergency meeting of the Arab League, emphasizing that his people are suffering genocide and violent displacement, while today, following an urgent request from the United Arab Emirates, the United Nations Security Council is expected to meet Nations.

The Israel-Hamas war in numbers

  • 1,400 Israelis dead
  • 8,005 Palestinians dead in Gaza
  • 116 Palestinians dead in the West Bank
  • 5,431 Israelis wounded
  • 20,242 Palestinians injured in Gaza
  • 2,000 Palestinians injured in the West Bank
  • 250,000 Israelis displaced
  • 1,400,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza
  • 230 soldiers and civilians hostage in Gaza
  • 4 hostages who have been released
  • 117 trucks have entered Gaza
  • 27,781 homes have been destroyed in Gaza