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Israeli Tanks Raid Gaza Ahead of Invasion, While Aid Trickles In

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The Israeli military said on Thursday that it had briefly sent tanks into the northern Gaza Strip overnight as part of preparations for the next stage of fighting, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated a ground invasion by the troops massed on the enclave’s border was likely.

The military said in a Telegram post that it had hit multiple targets and “operated to prepare the battlefield,” but did not elaborate, while Mr. Netanyahu, in a televised speech on Wednesday evening, vowed that Israel would punish the armed group Hamas for the Oct. 7 assault that massacred more than 1,400 people and seized more than 200 hostages.

Since the Hamas attack, Israel has waged an aerial and artillery bombardment that been far more intensive, more destructive and deadlier than any previously seen in Gaza. The Hamas-controlled government in Gaza said Thursday that the Israeli campaign has killed more than 7,000 people, with nearly 2,000 others trapped in the ruins of destroyed buildings, figures that could not be verified.

Hamas’s health ministry on Thursday released a list of 6,747 names of people it said had been confirmed killed, including 2,665 children, along with each person’s ID number, age and sex. It said 281 others who had died in the bombardment could not be identified.

That was an apparent response to President Biden, who said on Wednesday that he had “no confidence” in the death toll cited by the Gazan authorities. Last week, Hamas officials put the death toll in an explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City at 471, while U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that it was 100 to 300.

With Israel flattening many buildings and telling the population of northern Gaza to flee to the south, international aid agencies say more than half of the territory’s over 2 million people have been displaced.

The Israeli military said Thursday that it had carried out more than 250 strikes in the preceding 24 hours; the Gazan health ministry said that at least 43 of those, and 481 resulting deaths, were in southern Gaza — the region Israel has directed civilians go for their safety. Israel says it is hitting Hamas targets, often concealed within — or in tunnels beneath — residential buildings, mosques, schools and other civilian sites. Palestinians accuse it of indiscriminately killing civilians.

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