DRAMATIC footage shows the moment Israeli ground forces poured into Gaza during its overnight blitz on Hamas.
The lightning strikes by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are said to have “wiped out 150 underground bases”.
Video shows Israeli tanks and military vehicles pouring into the Gaza Strip as they seek to take out the terrorist group’s strongholds.
The IDF did not specify where in Gaza the footage was filmed.
The ground attack was combined with “around a hundred fighter jets” which were also used to bombard the area.
It’s believed the strikes were launched ahead of a full-scale invasion of the Palestinian enclave, as power and communication were also cut off for millions.
Read More in World News
Israel is seeking to destroy the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas after they killed – and in many cases butchered – 1,400 men, women and children on October 7.
Lieutenant Colonel Avichay Adraee said the IDF is now “advancing in the stages of war” after expanding its ground operations.
The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip claimed on Friday Israeli strikes had so far killed 7,326 people – more than 3,000 of them children.
The forces issued an urgent plea to residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City on Saturday afternoon to relocate south immediately.
Most read in The Sun
Spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “The impending IDF operation is set to neutralise the threat of Hamas with precision and intensity.
“Humanity remains haunted by the massacre unleashed by Hamas on October 7, a massacre of innocent lives. Israeli men, women, children, and babies were beheaded, executed, raped, and burnt alive. We won’t forget that.
“And the kidnapping of over 200 Israelis we will not forget.”
He told the Gazan residents their “window to act is closing”.
Gaza continues to be unreachable to the outside world with both phone and internet services cut off.
The world is holding its breath amid fears the volatile conflict could be the match that sets off an explosive wider war in the Middle East.
Israel bombarded Hamas from land, air and sea as fighter planes, warships and artillery pounded the Strip for hours.
The IDF confirmed this morning it struck and killed Hamas’ paraglider commander who helped plan the October 7 attack.
Asem Abu Rakaba instructed “the terrorists who infiltrated Israel on paragliders and was responsible for the drone attacks on IDF posts”.
Hamas’ naval forces commander, Rateb Abu Sahiban, who planned and commanded a foiled Hamas infiltration attempt by sea on October 24 was also killed in an overnight airstrike, says the IDF.
Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant promised to “continue to be strong and precise, and hunt down every terrorist”.
The “ground shook in Gaza last night,” he said as he warned the IDF had “entered a new stage in the conflict… the operation will continue until new orders are given”.
Lt Col Adraee confirmed: “We are advancing in the stages of war. Last night, IDF forces entered the northern area of the Gaza Strip and expanded the scope of ground operations.
“Infantry, armor, engineering, and artillery forces participate in this operation, and it is accompanied by intense gunfire.
“Expansion of operations serves all war aims at this time. The IDF conducts a continuous assessment of the situation and moves forward in line with the phases of the fighting.
“The IDF also continues to launch intensive and large-scale attacks by air and sea, in addition to continuing operations to eliminate terrorists.”
Some 300,000 troops have been massed by the IDF since the massacre and columns of armoured vehicles have encircled Gaza.
It comes as
US officials described last night’s armed raid – the third and largest this week – as what seemed to be the “rolling start” of an invasion.
The Biden administration earlier confirmed it was sending carrier strike group USS Dwight D Eisenhower to support Israel.
The aircraft carrier appears to have now entered the Mediterranean, according to various ship trackers.
Family members of the hundreds of hostages held in the Strip said last night was “the worst of all nights”.
A message issued on their behalf read: “It was an unending night, against the background of the IDF’s major operation in the Gaza Strip, and complete uncertainty regarding the fate of the abductees who are being held there and are also subject to the heavy bombardment.
“Anxiety, frustration, and especially enormous anger that nobody from the war cabinet bothered to meet with the families of the abductees to explain to them one thing – whether the ground operation endangers the safety of the 229 hostages in Gaza.
“The families are anxious for the fate of their loved ones and are waiting for an explanation. Every minute that passes feels like an eternity.”
Yesterday’s escalation came after reports that hostage negotiations had stalled over the release of those kidnapped by Hamas.
Israeli forces said this morning they destroyed some 150 underground bases as they work to wipe out Hamas.
Footage released by the IDF showed the intense attack with “hundreds” of bombs, as tanks massed on the border in the night.
Orange flames lit up the sky as guns boomed – with the fighting visible across the border from Israel.
Hamas meanwhile vowed its forces were ready to confront the Israelis with “full force” after the night-time assault.
Rockets launched by the cowardly terror group once again fell on Tel Aviv and other cities in Central Israel.
Prior to the assault, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the attack was an expansion of the “ground operation” in Gaza.
But Israeli officials later insisted it was not the start of the long-awaited “large-scale” offensive.
Palestinians reported tanks and troops crossing into the north of the 25-mile enclave near Beit Hannoun and Beit Lahia.
Israeli media reported the advance had gone “deep” into the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials are said to have left things “deliberately vague” as they continue to lay the groundwork for a potentially larger offensive.
Two US officials said the attack was the “rolling start” to an invasion, reports CBS – but the timeline remains unclear.
Israeli military spokesman Major Nir Dinar said: “Our troops are operating inside Gaza as they did yesterday.”
The United Nations warned of a looming “unprecedented avalanche of human suffering” inside the Gaza Strip after the weeks of bombing.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly called for an “immediate humanitarian truce”.
Hamas’ armed wing said: “We are confronting an Israeli ground incursion in Beit Hanoun and east Bureij and violent engagements are taking place on the ground.”
Unsubstantiated claims that Hamas successfully destroyed a number of Israeli tanks also circulated on social media amid the fog of war.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet came to “unanimous approval” to sign off the stepping-up of action on Gaza.
The Telegraph reported the PM previously decided against the invasion – however tensions increased as talks over Hamas releasing hostages ended in a stalemate.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, warned: “The only way to destroy Hamas is to root them out of their tunnels and their subterranean city of terror”.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser said on Friday night that Hamas would feel Israel’s “wrath tonight”.
Speaking to MSNBC, Mark Regev said the militant group will pay for its crimes against humanity.
Footage shared by Al Jazeera on Twitter appears to show the renewed attacks on Gaza as a journalist cowers from the blast live on air.
And UK defence sources did not deny when asked by The Sun that an Israeli ground strike could be imminent.
The UK’s Foreign Office has now warned of a potential “increase in rocket attacks” across Israel and the West Bank from today.
They said that “other incidents of violence” could rise after Israeli Defence Forces “significantly expanded” their operations.
Israeli Naval Vessels are reportedly also Shelling the Northern Gaza Strip.
Hamas’s military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, have claimed the southern Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashdod are being targeted with “intense missile barrages”.
They have also claimed that there have been more than 100 people killed in the bombing of a residential tower west of Gaza in the Al-Shati neighbourhood that was housing displaced people.
However, the terror group regularly share unconfirmed reports.
And Hamas have also alleged that Israel “cut communications and most of the internet” across the Gaza Strip.
They accused Israel of “retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea”.
STRIKING FROM THE AIR
An additional 10 aid trucks have entered Gaza amid Israel’s aerial bombardment, White House spokesman John Kirby said.
But Mr Kirby added that the United States supports a pause in Israeli military operations in the enclave to get humanitarian aid, fuel and electricity to civilians there.
He said that Washington has asked Israel about the aims and strategy of its war plan against Hamas and about “how is this going to end”.
His comments come ahead of a UN General Assembly vote on a “humanitarian truce” resolution that saw members vote overwhelmingly for an immediate humanitarian truce between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas.
UN secretary general Antonio Gueterres posted on X on Friday night to call for a ceasefire, saying “this is a moment of truth”.
He said: “I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Middle East, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving supplies at the scale needed.
“Everyone must assume their responsibilities. This is a moment of truth. History will judge us all.”
However, Israel has said they “categorically reject” the UN General Assembly’s decision to adopt a humanitarian truce resolution, the country’s foreign affairs spokesman has said.
Lior Haiat said: “Once again, when Hamas’ criminal actions are exposed, the UN reveals its true face in a scandalous decision.
“Israel rejects the call for a ceasefire and will continue to act to ensure its security and the safety of its citizens.”
Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Abu Azzoum claimed the strip had been completely cut off from communication with the rest of the world.
They said: “We don’t know anything about what’s happening in other districts in the territory. We don’t know how many victims there are.
“We only hear the bombing everywhere, but we don’t know anything about the victims, about the situation on the ground,” according to the Times of Gaza.
“Please, if you can hear us, send that message to the world that we are now isolated in Gaza. We don’t have any phone signals. We do not have any internet connections.”
Internet monitoring group Netblocks said Gaza has suffered its “largest single disruption to internet connectivity” since the conflict started nearly three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian mobile company also claimed its phone service had been cut off due to heavy bombardment in the strip.
Read More on The Sun
Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallants today said they expected to launch its invasion of Gaza soon, destroying Hamas’ underground web of tunnels.
Defence forces have spent almost two weeks massing at the border, waiting for the green light to wipe out Hamas in what is likely to be a difficult and bloody conflict.