Israel Continues to Expand Ground Operation in Gaza; Communications Blackout Eases

Israeli forces continue to expand ground operations in Gaza while fighter jets strike hundreds of Hamas targets, according to the Israeli ministry on Sunday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the recent operations as the second phase of the three-week-old war.

Internet and telephone communications were partially restored Sunday in Gaza after a blackout that lasted over a day, badly impacting rescue operations as Israel continued to pound Hamas militant group targets.

“Israel cut us off from the world in order to wipe us out, but we are hearing the sounds of explosions, and we are proud the resistance fighters have stopped them at meters distance,” said public servant to Fox News, Shaban Ahmed, who stayed in Gaza City despite a warning from Israel to evacuate south.

Ahmed said he just found out on Sunday that his cousin had been killed in a Friday air strike because of the blackout.

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) fighter jets hit over 450 military targets belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including observation posts, anti-tank missile launch posts, and operational command centers, said the military.

We are gradually expanding the ground activity and the scope of our forces in the Gaza Strip,” said Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman and Real Admiral, in a briefing. “We will do everything we can from the air, sea, and land to ensure the safety of our forces and achieve the goals of the war.”

With supplies of water, medicines, and food running low, thousands of residents of Gaza broke into warehouses and distribution centers of the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA), grabbing flour and other “basic survival items,” said the organization Sunday.

Israel will allow a substantial increase in aid to Gaza in the coming days, and Palestinian citizens should head to a “humanitarian zone” located in the south of the tiny territory, said Colonel Elad Goren of the Cogat, the Israeli Defense Ministry agency that works with coordinating with the Palestinians.

Israel continues to tighten its blockade and bombard Gaza in the three weeks since Hamas terrorists staged a horrific October 7 cross-border attack, which killed at least 1,400 people. The militants also kidnapped over 200 people.

Western countries have generally backed Israel’s right to self-defense. However, there has been increasing international outcry over the bombing toll and growing calls for a “humanitarian pause” to allow aid to reach citizens in Gaza and ease the humanitarian crisis.

Israel issues warnings for Palestinians to evacuate Gaza hospital immediately

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Sunday it received warnings from authorities in Israel to evacuate al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip immediately and added the raids conducted Sunday took place only 50 meters from the facility.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Palestinian Red Crescent report was “deeply concerning” and added it was impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients safely.

Palestinian officials said about 50,000 people were taking shelter inside the Gaza Shifa Hospital and said they were concerned about threats from Israel aimed at the facility.

Friday evening, Israel sent tanks and troops into Gaza, focusing on infrastructure and including the extensive tunnel network built by Hamas, according to the Israeli military. It provided no further details of the size of the deployment.

The chief military spokesperson for Israel declined to say if Israel had been behind the telecommunications blackout but said it would do what is necessary to protect its forces.