Israeli forces conducted a “targeted raid” into Gaza overnight using tanks, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the country was still preparing for a ground invasion.
The incursion is not the first time Israeli forces have directly entered the enclave since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. Soldiers have carried out several raids in search of hostages or to target militants, The Times of Israel notes, but Thursday’s operation took forces further into Gaza than so far during the war.
The Israeli military said the limited overnight raid was part of preparations for “the next stages of combat.”
Israeli allies such as the U.S. have called for a delay in the ground invasion over concerns it will destabilize the Middle East, while French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that it would be “incompatible” with international law.
The United Nations said the humanitarian crisis in Gaza had reached an “unprecedented point.” At least 6,500 people have been killed in the enclave following Israel’s bombardment of the region, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that its aid organizations have had to scale back their services as they run out of fuel. More than 600,000 people are internally displaced.