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Israeli Forces Conduct Hours Long Raid In Gaza After Continuous Airstrikes

After more than two weeks of catastrophic airstrikes, Israeli troops and tanks conducted an hours-long ground operation into northern Gaza overnight into Thursday, hitting many militant sites in an effort to “prepare the battlefield” for a widely anticipated military invasion.

The United Nations, which has been under total blockade since Hamas’ deadly assault across southern Israel sparked the conflict earlier this month, issued a warning that it was about to run out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, prompting the raid.

The southern border town of Aita al Shaab in Lebanon has seen an increase in fighting, and Israeli airstrikes and drone attacks early on Thursday caused fires in open ground there, according to Lebanon’s official news agency. It reported strikes late Wednesday on towns in the Tyre district, saying a mattress factory was hit.

More than 7,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. This number includes the controversial death toll from an explosion at a hospital. That is over three times the total number of Palestinians lost during the 2014 six-week Gaza conflict. More than 1,500 women and almost 2,900 youngsters are among the ministry’s victims.

The origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be traced back to the late 1800s, when Jews started migrating to Palestine from Russia and central Europe due to anti-Semitic sentiment.

Although it has not stated anything about what would take over as the government of Gaza after the battle, many believe Washington would play a key role. Israel is committed to destroy Hamas.

“One thing is clear: the Gaza Strip will not be ruled by Hamas once this war is over,” Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy told AFP as Israel’s military steps up strikes in preparation for a widely-expected ground offensive.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Wednesday the 2023-2024 national budget was “no longer relevant” given the Gaza war and would be amended, and sounded unfazed by S&P Global’s downgrade of Israel’s outlook to “negative” from “stable”.

While putting the direct cost of the war at around 1 billion shekels ($246 million) a day to Israel, Mr. Smotrich said in an Army Radio broadcast that he did not yet have an assessment of the indirect costs on an economy partly paralysed by the mass mobilisation of military reservists and extensive Palestinian rocket salvos.

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