Israel will drag Gaza ‘to depths of hell’ with plan for ground war against militants – World News


Israeli commanders were ­on Thursday drawing up plans for a ground war against Gaza’s militants, despite warnings they could drag the region to “the depths of hell”.

A ground offensive plan will be presented to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu today as the Palestinian death toll passed 85, with 17 children, this week.

The number of injured Palestinians is approaching 500, including 86 children.

Despite campaign groups calling for a ceasefire, there is little sign of either side halting the cross-border barrage.

Tonight the charity Christian Aid said: “Even without a threatened ground invasion these figures will go up; with one, they will take us into the depths of hell.

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Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards the Gaza Strip
Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards the Gaza Strip

“The international community cannot afford to continue failing in their responsibility to use every possible measure to stop the violence.”

Yesterday sirens blared in southern Israel as a barrage of 100 rockets screamed out of Gaza almost simultaneously.

Israeli sources said the government was determined to avoid a ground war, mindful of the 2014 Gaza War that killed more than 2,310 Palestinians and 72 Israelis.



Health professionals arrive at the attack site after Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza
Health professionals arrive at the attack site after Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza

One source said: “Plans are being drawn up for a ground offensive, even though the Israeli Defence Force has inflicted serious damage on the Hamas military leadership.

“There is only so much Israeli intelligence can do in terms of picking out Hamas buildings to hit.

“A ground offensive… unthinkable just days ago, remains nevertheless on the table.”



Israelis take cover in a shop
Israelis take cover in a shop

Israel declined a ceasefire offer from Hamas yesterday, “back-channelled” via Russia.

It came despite the group launching 1,700 rockets at Israel since Monday, killing six civilians and a soldier.

Among those killed by Israel are nine senior Hamas leaders.



Smoke rises after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza City
Smoke rises after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza City

Many of the Palestinian group’s bases are ruined.

As Israeli troops gathered at the Gaza border on Thursday, one Israeli minister said after a meeting with Mr Netanyahu: “The campaign is still far from over.

“Whatever we don’t do now we will have to do in six months or a year from now.”



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As well as rocket attacks, gangs of Jewish and Arab men have been fighting.

Twenty people were hurt in city Lod, in Israel, where a state of emergency has been declared.

Two people were shot and wounded and an Israeli Jewish man was stabbed by an Arab on Thursday.

Another Jewish man was in hospital after an Arab gang beat him with iron bars in the northern city of Acre.

In Jerusalem, a 25-year-old Arab was stabbed in the neck.





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