Gaza ground invasion appears imminent

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A ground invasion appears imminent after the Israeli defense minister monitored his forces as tanks and troops amassed near the Gaza border.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Yoav Gallant arrived near the border last night to meet with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials. “He closely monitored the readiness of the Israeli forces for a possible ground invasion of Gaza,” the Post reported.

There’s a growing expectation of a ground offensive that Israel says is aimed at rooting out Hamas militants who rule Gaza. Israel said it does not plan to take long-term control over the tiny territory, home to some 2.3 million people.

As the Israeli military punished Gaza with airstrikes, authorities inched closer to bringing aid from Egypt to desperate families and hospitals. Fighting between Israel and militants in neighboring Lebanon also raged, prompting evacuations of Lebanese and Israeli border towns as fears of a widening conflict grew.

A potential Israeli ground assault is likely to lead to a dramatic escalation in casualties on both sides in urban fighting. More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed in the war — mostly civilians slain during the Hamas incursion.

More than 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry run by Hamas. That includes a disputed number of people who died in a hospital explosion earlier this week.

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