Gaza is under a total communication blackout after Israeli jets launched the most intense bombing campaign on the strip since the start of the war
Gaza-based Palestinian resistance faction Hamas announced on 28 October that its forces successfully held back invading Israeli troops who overnight launched large-scale ground operations into the coastal enclave under the cover of intense air raids.
Hamas says its forces dealt “heavy losses to the enemy’s ranks” as they repelled the ground incursion. Nonetheless, heavy clashes continue in several points of the northern Gaza Strip.
“The enemy fell into ambushes set up by the Palestinian resistance on several fronts. Kornet missiles and Yasin shells were used to repel the attack, and we expect the enemy to try again. The Israeli regime used helicopters to evacuate the wounded and the dead from the battlefield,” the Hamas statement reads.
For their part, Israeli media claims there are “no reports of Israeli casualties” and that “ground forces, including infantry, combat engineering forces, and tanks, remained inside Gaza […] operating deeper into the Hamas-run territory than previous limited incursions.”
On Friday night, the Israeli army began what officials described as an “expansion” of their ground operations into Gaza after several nights of “limited incursions” that were also repelled by the Palestinian resistance.
According to local reports, the elite US Delta Force has been accompanying Israeli troops into the besieged territory. However, Washington maintains that its forces only provide logistical advice to Tel Aviv.
The Israeli ground offensive was launched under the cover of a violent campaign of airstrikes by the Israeli air force, which decimated the northern Gaza Strip with hundreds of bombs, including internationally banned white phosphorous and cluster munitions.
Despite the intensity of the Israeli offensive, the Gaza resistance continued to launch rocket attacks toward the occupied territories, setting off alarms in several settlements.
As the clashes continue, Gaza remains unreachable to the outside world after Israel cut off all phone and internet services to provide cover for the genocide being committed against Palestinian civilians.
“This communications blackout means that it will be even more difficult to obtain critical information and evidence about human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and to hear directly from those experiencing the violations,” Erika Guevara Rosas, senior director of research, advocacy, policy and campaigns at Amnesty International, said in a statement on Friday.
UN agencies and human rights organizations say they can still not reach their staff and health facilities inside Gaza.
Reports of intense bombardment in Gaza are extremely distressing.
Evacuation of patients is not possible under such circumstances, nor to find safe shelter.
The blackout is also making it impossible for ambulances to reach the injured.
We are still out of touch with our staff…
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) October 28, 2023
Israeli ground troops face fierce resistance inside Gaza
Israel has expanded ‘limited’ ground operations in Gaza, but continues to delay launching a full invasion as promised
The Palestinian resistance has continued to confront Israeli ground troops penetrating the Gaza border, after Tel Aviv announced an expansion of limited ground incursions into the besieged strip on Friday.
The Qassam Brigades launched a surprise attack on Israeli forces on Sunday “after infiltrating behind their lines and clashing with enemy forces” who were making an incursion northwest of Beit Lahia, their Telegram channel said.
In a statement released earlier on 29 October, Hamas’ Qassam Brigades announced that they “continue to confront the Zionist forces penetrating the Al-Amiriyya area northwest of Beit Lahia, where they engaged in armed clashes with them and targeted enemy vehicles with … mortar shells.”
The Qassam Brigades “carried out several sniping operations. The enemy admitted that a number of its soldiers were wounded in the clashes with our Mujahideen who … are still targeting enemy forces.”
They also targeted on Sunday morning a “gathering of enemy vehicles” with a suicide drone, according to the resistance group’s Telegram channel.
The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, the Quds Brigades, also announced on 29 October targeting Israeli forces attempting to enter the northern Gaza Strip with rockets and mortar shells.
Israel’s military announced earlier on 29 October that one of its officers was seriously hurt and another soldier moderately injured “in the northern Gaza Strip overnight.”
The Qassam Brigades released a video on Saturday evening, 28 October, showing their destruction of an Israeli armored vehicle believed to be carrying over a dozen soldiers. The attack took place near the Gaza Strip’s Shujaiya area.
Over the past week, Israel has carried out “limited” ground incursions into northern Gaza aimed at testing the waters for the planned invasion. The Israeli army said it struck several Hamas targets during small-scale incursions on 25 and 26 October.
Israeli troops took heavy losses the week before that while attempting to enter the Gaza Strip on land.
Tel Aviv announced on 27 October that it is “expanding” its limited ground activity in Gaza.
However, an army spokesman told ABC News that day that “the expanded operations taking place in Gaza are not an official ground invasion.”
So far, Israel has delayed fully invading Gaza and attempting to carry out its stated goal of “eradicating” Hamas, who are well prepared for an Israeli ground invasion.
Many experts, including The Cradle’s Hasan Illaik, have said recently that Israel will be unable to bear the cost of launching a full ground assault on the Gaza Strip. Such an invasion could also instigate the opening of several new fronts and the outbreak of regional war.
“We want to convey to our enemy that we are impatiently awaiting the opportunity to introduce [its forces] to new forms of demise,” Qassam Brigades spokesman, Abu Obeida, said on 28 October.