Israel intensified its siege of Gaza on Friday, stepping up air- and ground-based attacks, amid a “total or near total” internet blackout in the region.
“In the last few hours, we have severely increased our attacks in Gaza,” Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a press conference.
He said that the Israeli air force is conducting strikes on tunnels and other infrastructure.
“In addition to the attacks carried out in the last few days, ground forces are expanding their operations tonight,” Hagari said, but did not declare that this was the start of the ground invasion that Israel has been planning.
The pronouncement came amid reports of some of the heaviest bombardment that Gaza has seen since Israeli air strikes began targeting targeting the area in response to Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The intensified attacks have reportedly led to most internet and phone services being cut off.
Israeli troops briefly raided parts of northern Gaza on Thursday night as “part of our preparations for the next stages of the war”, Hagari said, according to The Associated Press.