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 hostages are being held captive by Hamas.
The massing of artillery and men at the border comes after heavy machine gunfire was heard along the border in the early hours on Friday morning, Daily Mail reported.
Israel continued to pound Gaza with a relentless stream of airstrikes and it 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, Daily Mail reported.
Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defense minister, 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 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.