Gaza ground offensive must begin sooner rather than later: IDF

Tel Aviv, Oct 23 (IANS): The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) believe that in order to attain the objectives of the war against Hamas, laid out by government officials, the military must begin its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip sooner rather than later, media reports said.

Israel said that its war on Hamas is aimed at destroying the group’s infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire organization.

After 16 days of airstrikes, the IDF said that it is fully prepared for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

It said that IDF can achieve the goals set out for it, even at the risk of heavy casualties, and amid repeated attacks by Hezbollah in the north, Times of Israel reported.

IDF has already heavily bolstered the Lebanon border, but most forces remain near Gaza ahead of the ground offensive.

Reportedly, there are around 222 confirmed hostages taken by Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip. IDF has been preparing for the possibility of rescue operations amid the ground offensive as well, Times of Israel reported.

The military fears that further hostage releases by Hamas could lead the political leadership to delay a ground incursion or even halt it midway.

On Friday night, Hamas released an American mother and daughter, which, according to reports, led to the ground offensive being postponed.

Still, the military believes that a ground offensive may actually pressure Hamas to release further hostages.

The military is looking towards the government to make a decision soon regarding the ground offensive, as the forces stationed by the border can only remain in a heightened state of readiness for so long, Times of Israel reported.



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Title: Gaza ground offensive must begin sooner rather than later: IDF

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