A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that in the wake of the attacks against Israel on 7 October, Israel may yet begin a ground incursion into Gaza as part of an attempt to liberate Israeli hostages that were taken captive and defeat Hamas. 

Speaking on 10 October at a briefing organised by the Israel Embassy in London and the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), Maj. Nir Dinar, Head of the International Press Department in the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit and a former Chief Operations Officer in the “Nahal” brigade special forces unit, provided an update on the events unfolding between Israel and Gaza.

Without committing to action, Dinar said that the IDF will deploy special forces if it an opportunity presents itself as a viable option. “If we could, we would,” said Dinar, before pivoting to say that while the theory behind rescuing hostages hinges on negotiations, that was not feasible in this instance, and under those circumstances a special operation is the only alternative.

Questioned on whether there would be a ground incursion in to Gaza, Dinar stressed that this was a decision for the Israeli government, but while that was not a certainty, the IDF are prepared, and it may be the only way to rescue the Israeli hostages held captive by Hamas.

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Ongoing fighting in Israel

Dinar said that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are fighting to bring back security to the South, and have gained control, but that terrorists are still present in Southern Israel, adding that Israel is striking hard at Gaza and will continue to do so despite the dense human population around Hamas infrastructure. 

Later on Tuesday, the IDF said that it had refined control of the border between Israel and Gaza.

Dinar refuted suggestions that the repositioning of elements of the IDF to the West Bank to protect settlers had been a mistake responsible for the invasion from Gaza, but a full analysis will follow. Dinar expressed the view that the transfer of troops to the West Bank prevented a similar conflict developing there, asserting that Hamas would also be capable of orchestrating an attack originating from that location. 

To the North, Hezbollah has been active on the border between Israel and Lebanon, but the time of speaking Dinar said that the level of activity had become quiet for the moment, after the arrival of troop reinforcements.

Swift reprisals

Israel has been reeling from the invasion of parts of southern Israel as more than a thousand armed militants from Hamas breached the border wall between Israel and Gaza and proceeded to kill more than 900 Israelis, and injured a further 2,700. 

Reprisals from Israel have been swift and devastating, with a combination firefights against active combatants and airstrikes against targets within Gaza killing a further 830 and injuring 4,250 Palestinians, CNBC reports. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also stated that it will completely cut off Gaza from water, electricity, and food, sparking concerns of collective punishment against the 2.3 million Palestinians living in the territory.