Israel ground forces raid Hamas sites in Gaza, withdraw – military statement

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JERUSALEM – Israeli ground forces operated within the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, attacking multiple Hamas targets before withdrawing, the military said in a statement on what Israel’s Army Radio described as the biggest incursion of the current war.

Video of the overnight action issued by the military showed armoured vehicles proceeding through a sandy border zone. A bulldozer is seen levelling part of a raised bank, tanks fire shells, and explosions are seen near or amid a row of damaged buildings.

The military statement posted online said the incursion was carried out “in preparation for the next stages of combat”, a possible reference to the large-scale invasion that Israeli leaders have threatened as part of the war to destroy Hamas.

“The soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory,” the military statement added.

Israel began localised ground incursions on Sunday as the war, triggered by an Oct 7 cross-border rampage by Hamas gunmen, entered its third week. Israel’s Army Radio described Thursday’s incursion as the biggest yet.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas in Gaza. REUTERS

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