ISRAEL INITIALLY CONFIRMS, THEN DENIES GROUND TROOPS ENTERED GAZA

Beginning from the evening of May 13th, there’s been conflicting reports of whether a ground invasion is going on in Gaza.

Initially, the Israeli Defense Forces have confirmed there are “troops on the ground”.

“I said that we will exact a very heavy price from Hamas, we are doing this, and we will continue to do so,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated. “The last word has not been said, and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

Then, it was denied that the troops were in Gaza, but rather simply along the border fence, carrying out strikes on various locations in the West Bank.

Israeli army spokesman John Conricus said the country was “prepared … for various scenarios”, describing a ground offensive as “one scenario”.

The IDF is carrying out a heavy airstrike and ground bombardment.

Essentially, Israel’s military attempted to walk back on some initial statements, claiming they were mistranslated to the AFP – confirming that “ground troops” are now involved in operations at the border but that the “invasion” has yet to begin inside the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military’s “air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel ministry of military affairs tweeted late Thursday.

Hamas had earlier warned Tel Aviv of a “heavy response” in case it launched such incursion following many days of airstrikes against the enclave.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz though sent 9,000 reservists to the occupied territories’ border with Gaza in an “exceptional call-up,” the Associated Press reported.

It had earlier been reported that 5,000 such reservists had been dispatched to the border area. It was not clear if there was any overlap between the two numbers.

Amid Hamas’ warning, however, the Israeli military later denied having moved into Gaza.

“There are currently no IDF (Israeli military) ground troops inside the Gaza strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza strip,” it said, according to the Times of Israel.

So far, according to latest reports, at least 109 Palestinians, including 28 children, have been killed in the Israeli attacks.

Many world leaders have condemned the violence and urged restraint, and a visit by Egyptian security officials was a significant development in international efforts to bring about a ceasefire. The officials have held separate meetings with Hamas and the Israelis, AP cited two Egyptian intelligence officials as saying.

Israel rejects any ceasefire attempts and continues its offensive, possibly preparing a ground invasion.

The UN Security Council will publicly discuss the worsening violence between Israel and Palestinian militants on Sunday, diplomats said after the United States earlier objected to a meeting on Friday.

“Too many innocent civilians have already died,” Antonio Guterres tweeted. “This conflict can only increase radicalization and extremism in the whole region.”

Via https://southfront.org/israel-initially-confirms-then-denies-ground-troops-entered-gaza/