The Israel Defense Forces are “preparing to implement a wide range of offensive operative plans which include, among other things, an integrated and coordinated attack from the air, sea and land,” they announced Saturday.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was overheard telling IDF servicemen “the next stage is coming” during a visit to two of the kibbutzes that were ravaged by Hamas terrorists earlier this week.
Netanyahu’s remarks come as IDF forces warned “anyone coming near the [Gaza] border will be shot,” with troops conducting “small raids” in the area, CNN reported.
The IDF is “preparing for the next steps,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said, according to the outlet.
The IDF has swarmed the border with troops and military equipment, but the exact contours of its plan for a siege on Gaza remain unclear. Israel had given evacuation orders to the region as it prepares for a ground invasion targeting Hamas terrorists.
Overnight, Israeli air force strikes took out two top Hamas military leaders, with the terror group later claiming that nine hostages were killed in the efforts. Israel also stated that forces had recovered the bodies of several missing citizens during a raid on Gaza.
Israel’s fierce retaliation to last weekend’s surprise attack — the deadliest the Jewish state has seen in about 50 years — has resulted in aggressive counterattacks on the Gaza Strip.
“The hospital morgue can only take 10 bodies, so we have brought in ice cream freezers from the ice cream factories in order to store the huge numbers of martyrs,” said Dr. Yasser Ali of the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital.
The freezer trucks, whose sides still show advertising images of smiling children enjoying ice cream cones, were once used to make deliveries to supermarkets.
Since cemeteries have started to fill up and getting to hospitals has become too risky, the trucks now serve as makeshift morgues.
Israel is not interested in engaging in a war with its northern neighbor, Lebanon, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday as tensions in the north swell.
“We have no interest in a war in the north, we don’t want to escalate the situation,” Gallant said in remarks videotaped while visiting troops in the southern portion of the country.
If Hezbollah chooses to join sides with Hamas, they “will pay a very heavy price,” he noted.
“But if it restrains itself, we’ll respect the situation and keep things the way they are, despite shooting from both sides.”