Israeli Military Says It’s ‘in Formation’ to Strike Gaza City

NYT reports Israel's plan is to capture Gaza City

An Israeli military spokesman said Sunday that Israeli troops are “in formation” to strike Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip as Israel is expected to launch a ground incursion into the besieged enclave.

“Gaza City is where the focus and the hub of Hamas activities are, that is where most of the commanders are, most of their infrastructure and their ability to continue to operate,” said Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, according to NPR.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Israel’s plan is to invade and capture Gaza City and attempt to wipe out Hamas’ leadership. The operation is expected to involve tens of thousands of troops and will be Israel’s largest ground incursion since at least 2006 when it invaded Lebanon.

Besides sending in the infantry, the incursion will include tanks, commandos, and mine sappers. The force will receive support from Israeli warplanes, attack helicopters, and artillery fired from land and sea. The US is strongly backing Israel as it’s preparing to invade Gaza and launching relentless airstrikes on the enclave.

CIA Map of the Gaza Strip

The invasion force will face stiff resistance from Hamas militants and other groups that will join the fighting. The Israeli incursion of Gaza is expected to lead to months of brutal urban warfare in one of the most densely populated places in the world. Israel’s long-term plans and whether it would eventually withdraw from Gaza City if it’s successfully captured are unclear.

Ahead of the expected ground invasion of Gaza, Israel calls for northern Gaza to be evacuated, an area that’s home to 1.1 million people. Israel said the residents should move to southern Gaza, a huge movement of people that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said is likely “impossible.” According to Middle East Eye, at least 70 people were killed by an Israeli airstrike while attempting to flee to the south.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza will soon reopen for aid. The crossing was closed last Tuesday amid Israeli airstrikes in the area and was not reopened.

Israel had also threatened to bomb aid trucks entering Gaza from Egypt, but Blinken’s comments suggest a deal was reached to allow the flow of at least some humanitarian good. Israel’s continued siege and imminent ground invasion will still incur a huge civilian cost.

So far, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack have killed at least 2,450 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The number includes 724 children and 458 women.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.