Israeli military operations in Gaza 'will escalate', IDF warns

Israeli military operations in Gaza 'will escalate', IDF warns

Israeli troops are pushing deeper into the Gaza Strip as the country’s chief military spokesperson warns military operations in the region “will escalate”.

As Israel continues to demand the release of 239 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, the militant group released a video on Monday claiming to show three of the women it captured on 7 October.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the video as “cruel psychological propaganda” and said their heart is with the women.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to pound the strip, with residents on Monday reporting dozens of air strikes in the east of Gaza City.

Some also claimed to hear tanks roll in, which Hamas said had pulled back towards the border, while other Gazans said a road by the coast in the west had been hit from the air and sea.

Israeli advances have put their forces on both sides of Gaza City and surrounding areas of the north, in what Mr Netanyahu called a “second stage” in the war.

Islamic Jihad, a militant group fighting alongside Hamas, said in a statement that now is not the time for a truce, adding “our duty today is fight and fight”.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s chief military spokesperson, said Israel Defence Forces (IDF) troops are deployed along the northern border and “prepared for any scenario”.

Dozens of militants were killed overnight, Mr Hagari added, but he refused to confirm the location of the ground forces after footage appeared to show tanks advancing on a main road in Gaza.

Later on Monday, Mr Hagari said four Hamas officials had been killed by Israeli troops in the “past few hours”.

The fighters also “destroyed terror infrastructure” including anti-tank positions, he added, while the IDF claims soldiers are responding to gunfire at the Lebanese border and targeting the “origin of the shooting”.