Increased Israeli military activity seen near Israel-Gaza border
Israeli tanks and thousands of soldiers are massed at the Israel-Gaza border, indicating a potential imminent invasion
Columns of Israeli tanks massed on the Israel-Gaza border and thousands of soldiers readied themselves for battle as an invasion of the war-torn enclave appears imminent, media reports said.
Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and scores of tanks and armoured vehicles are now positioned on the border, ready for a ground assault on the Gaza Strip where 203 Israeli hostages are being held captive by Hamas, according to Israel.
The massing of artillery and men at the border comes after heavy machine gunfire was heard along the border in the early hours of Friday, the Daily Mail reported.
Israel continued to pound Gaza with a relentless stream of airstrikes and began evacuating a northern Israeli city near the Lebanese border in yet another sign of an impending ground invasion that could trigger turmoil across the Middle East.
The two million Palestinians trapped in the small enclave, where thousands have been killed and entire towns obliterated, are now bracing themselves for the invasion that is expected to result in further major casualties, the Daily Mail report stated.
Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant also visited troops positioned along the Gaza border, and told them they would soon see the Palestinian enclave "from inside".
An infantry commander in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) told DailyMail.com that they were ready to invade, adding there was "a very high level of optimism" among his troops.
Israel's leaders are determined to rid Gaza of its Hamas rulers, even if that means going house-to-house in an operation that could last "years" and result in further major casualties among Palestinians.