Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers at a staging area near the Israeli-Gaza border, October 20, 2023.

Israel is stepping up its attacks on Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the IDF said Saturday, as military officers are preparing ground forces to enter the enclave.

“We have to enter the next phase of the war in the best conditions, not according to what anyone tells us,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters at a news conference.


“From today, we are increasing the strikes and minimizing the danger. We will dramatically increase the attacks, and therefore I called on Gaza City residents to continue moving south for their safety,” he added.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi told an infantry brigade during a tour of the forces preparing along the border that the invasion could take place at any time.

“Gaza is densely populated, a complex environment, and the enemy is preparing surprises for us there – but we are also preparing surprises for them,” he said.

“We will enter for an operational mission, a professional one, to destroy Hamas activists, Hamas infrastructure — and we’ll also keep in our minds the memory of the pictures and images and the dead from Saturday two weeks ago (October 7, the massacre of more than a thousand Israeli civilians by Hamas).

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Friday in a meeting at the MOD Headquarters in Tel Aviv that there will be three stages to Israel’s war on Hamas.

Gallant said the objectives of the campaign include the elimination of Hamas and destruction of both its military and governing capabilities, the complete removal of Israeli responsibility from the Gaza strip, and the creation of a new security reality in the region.

“There will be three stages. We are now in the first stage – a military campaign that currently includes strikes, and will later include maneuvering, with the objective of neutralizing terrorists and destroying Hamas infrastructure.

“The second phase, an intermediate one, will require operations at lower intensity, with the objective of eliminating ‘pockets of resistance’ (remaining terror hotspots).

“The third phase will require the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel,” he explained.

The IDF dropped new flyers on Gaza City on Saturday, warning that “once again, for the safety of Gazan civilians, they should evacuate to the south of Wadi Gaza. All those who remain are endangering themselves due to the Hamas’ terrorist activities within civilian areas.”

Earlier in the day, the IDF announced that more than 700,000 residents have already evacuated from Gaza City and northern Gaza, in accordance with multiple messages from the IDF, urging them to leave the impending combat zone.

According to Bloomberg News, Israeli and US government officials are considering the options for future management of the enclave following the dismantling of Hamas.

Those options, according to the report, include “potentially installing an interim government backed by the United Nations and with the involvement of Arab governments.”

In light of the conclusions reached Saturday at a “peace summit” held in Cairo, and the abysmal record of United Nation attempts to prevent attacks on Israel, neither option appears to be realistic.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.