Israeli army cordons off Gaza’a Jabalia area, braces for ground battle
Densely populated areas, including Jabalia refugee camp, heavily bombed in recent days to prepare for ground offensive, says army
The Israeli army on Tuesday said it had completely encircled the Jabalia area in northern Gaza in preparation for an expected heavy ground fighting with Palestinians.
The Jabalia area includes the Jabalia refugee camp and the Jabalia town, the most densely populated area in Gaza.
The Israeli army said in a statement that its forces heavily bombed the Jabalia area in recent days to prepare for the ground battle.
The Israeli army claimed that it destroyed "three tunnel entrances with Hamas operatives inside" as well as rocket launchers in the area.
It added that the army units are working to open up a route for soldiers to invade the Jabalia area.
On Oct. 27, the Israeli army started the ground operation against Gaza, as the second phase of its deadly onslaught on the Palestinian enclave.
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.
Authorities in Gaza said Monday that the death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 has jumped to over 13,300, including 5,600 children and 3,550 women.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara