BREAKING: Israel Begins Ground Operation Against Hamas

In the wee hours of Friday morning Israeli time, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) launched a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The military later clarified that troops had not invaded the Gaza Strip, but soldiers had begun attacking. This salvo represents the latest strike in an escalating conflict that began with skirmishes at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday and Hamas firing rockets at Israel.

“IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military announced.

The Israeli army had not entered the Gaza Strip, however. The IDF later clarified that its troops had not entered Palestinian territory but they had begun to carry out an attack “in the Gaza Strip” without boots on the ground, Agence France-Press reported.

Tanks and artillery were deployed, but no ground troops crossed into Gaza, Axios reported. Israel has called up 9,000 reservists and massed at least three brigades on the border with Gaza, which Hamas controls.

Israel celebrated “Jerusalem Day,” marking its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The march appears to have brought an increased police presence, enflaming tensions regarding six Palestinian families who face eviction in favor of Jewish settlers. Palestinians protested the evictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the Temple Mount, near the third-holiest site in Islam. Rioters reportedly threw rocks at police and police opened fire, injuring hundreds.

Hamas threatened to attack Israel if police did not leave the compound. Hamas fired about 1,600 rockets into Israel, but the Iron Dome interceptor system blocked about 90 percent of them. Even so, the rockets killed one Israeli soldier and six Israeli civilians, including one child.

Israel has responded with rockets of their own, and Gaza has reported at least 109 Palestinians killed, including 28 children. The IDF has claimed to have killed several Hamas commanders in the strikes.

According to the IDF, many of Hamas’ rockets have misfired, so the Palestinian terrorist group may be responsible for many of the deaths in the Gaza Strip. Israel has claimed that Hamas misfired 350 rockets in the last 3 days, killing innocent civilians in Gaza.

While President Joe Biden has defended Israel’s right to defend itself, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) accused him of taking “the side of the occupation.”

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