A top official of the Palestinian Islamist group has boasted that Hamas is ‘ready’ for an Israeli invasion of Gaza over the October 7 attacks, less than 24 hours after Israel announced it would extend its ground operation.
Africa Today News, New York reports that military spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters after two straight nights of tank incursions into the Gaza Strip that; ‘Following the series of strikes of the last days, the ground forces are extending the ground operation tonight’.
A top Hamas official said it was ‘ready’ for an Israeli ground invasion.
‘If (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu decides to enter Gaza tonight, the resistance is ready,” said Ezzat al-Rishaq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, on Telegram social media.
‘The remains of his soldiers will be swallowed up by the land of Gaza.’
Air strike after air strike lit up the night sky as thick black smoke clouded the horizon.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said on its Telegram channel it responded with ‘salvos of rockets’.
Hamas said all internet connections and communications across Gaza had been cut, and accused Israel of taking the measure ‘to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea’.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said ambulance services had been disrupted.
‘We have completely lost contact with the operations room in the Gaza Strip and all our teams operating there,’ it said on X, formerly Twitter.
Meanwhile, Hamas has called on the world to “act immediately” to stop Israel from attacking Gaza.
Israel has heavily bombarded Gaza since Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping over 220 others, according to Israeli officials.
The Hamas-run health ministry said Friday that Israeli strikes on Gaza had now killed 7,326 people, mainly civilians and many of them children.
The White House said the United States backs a “humanitarian pause” so aid can get into Gaza.
“We would support humanitarian pauses for stuff getting in, as well as for people getting out, and that includes pushing for fuel to get in and for the restoration of electrical power,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Gaza faces “an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering” because of the lack of food, water and power during the Israeli bombing in response to the October 7 attack.
“I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving supplies,” Guterres said in a statement.
“Misery is growing by the minute. Without a fundamental change, the people of Gaza will face an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering.”
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees had earlier warned that “many more will die” in Gaza from catastrophic shortages after nearly three weeks of bombardment by Israel.
The UN human rights office also raised the alarm over “war crimes” being committed as the Israel-Hamas conflict raged for the 21st day.