Israeli forces have launched air strikes and deployed troops on the ground on the Gaza Strip, Al Arabiya News reported today citing a brief message from the Israeli army.
Residents near the Israeli frontier in northern Gaza reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of air strikes but said there was no sign of ground troops inside the enclave yet, according to the report.
The ground forces are only participating in the bombing of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli army spokesman later confirmed.
Local media in Gaza reported over 450 Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza, with more than 50 injuries from al-Baali area.
Palestinian factions have retaliated with missiles in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba and Sderot. The Israeli army has called for the residents of the border settlements to remain inside bomb shelters until further notice.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Hamas of paying "a heavy price", adding that the military operation "will continue as needed".
The Israeli army spokesperson also said around 160 aircraft participated this morning from six air bases, launching around 450 missiles and shells at nearly 150 targets, while artillery and armored forces attacked targets with artillery and tank shells, aiming to strike a heavy blow to the underground "Hamas metro" infrastructures located in the northern and eastern Gaza neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the US Department of State in a statement recommended US citizens to reconsider travel to Israel due to armed conflict and civil unrest.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip's feeble health system has been struggling to provide treatment to the injured in the Israeli attack amid a runaway surge of coronavirus cases, reports Associated Press.
Doctors across the crowded coastal enclave are now reallocating intensive care unit beds and scrambling to keep up with a very different health crisis: treating blast and shrapnel wounds, bandaging cuts and performing amputations.
Distraught relatives did not wait for ambulances, rushing the wounded by car or on foot to Shifa Hospital, the territory's largest. Exhausted doctors hurried from patient to patient, frantically bandaging shrapnel wounds to stop the bleeding. Others gathered at the hospital morgue, waiting with stretchers to remove the bodies for burial.
At least 115 Palestinians, including 27 children and 11 women, have so far been killed in the ongoing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, the Ministry of Health reported today, while 621 people have been reported wounded.