October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

From Air and Ground, Israel Edges Into Gaza Ahead of Offensive

October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

From Air and Ground, Israel Edges Into Gaza Ahead of Offensive

Latest Developments

Israeli infantry and tanks conducted limited incursions into the Gaza Strip on October 23, clashing with Hamas as air strikes hit areas being used by Palestinian terrorists to assemble in anticipation of a likely invasion. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) disclosed that several probing raids had taken place within Gazan territory since the evening of October 22. In one such operation, a soldier was killed and several wounded by Hamas counter-fire.

The Israeli air force, meanwhile, was focusing strikes on underground or otherwise concealed ambush positions where Palestinian terrorists were congregating. “Our operational readiness is improving,” said chief IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. “Even as we speak, there is an air campaign underway, hitting terrorists that are preparing for the next stage. Hence we are taking advantage of [the] time to improve our readiness to enable [the] ground maneuver.”

Expert Analysis

“After giving hundreds of thousands of civilians in the northern Gaza Strip more than a week to evacuate, the Israelis are preparing to carry out their promised ground sweep to destroy Hamas. The enemy will have the defender’s advantage, having spent years digging secret attack tunnels and rigging booby traps in residential areas. Eliminating as much of that as possible in advance will speed Israel’s access to the Hamas government and command centers in Gaza City and help reduce its losses.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Iran-backed Hamas terrorists were given explicit instructions to carry out massacres inside Israel and bring as many hostages back to Gaza as possible — likely expecting an immediate military ground invasion by the IDF. But the IDF is waiting, attempting to shape the battle environment and eliminating as much terror infrastructure as possible before sending its troops into Gaza. This strategy is allowing Israel to prepare for a multifront confrontation, which is a smart move by the IDF given the likely scenario of such attacks.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The planning behind the October 7 attack in southern Israel most likely factored in the possibility of a significant retaliatory ground operation in Gaza. This foresight would have granted Hamas and its allies sufficient time to prepare for an IDF ground offensive before unleashing their attack more than two weeks ago.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel’s picturesque, ghostly North awaits next phase of war,” by Seth J. Frantzman

Showdown in Gaza,” by Seth J. Frantzman

How to save Gazan lives,” by Clifford D. May


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