Israel Following US Advice in Its Gaza Ground Operation

Internet and phone services were restored in Gaza on Sunday as the death toll in the enclave surpassed 8,000

Israel’s current ground operation in Gaza is in line with the advice the US has been giving, a US official told The Times of Israel.

The official said Israel had launched a “limited” ground incursion, which is what the US recommended to avoid harming hostages, as opposed to a full-scale invasion. Hamas has claimed 50 hostages have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, but the number hasn’t been confirmed.

The US official said Israel did not need pressure from the US to launch a limited incursion. The New York Times reported that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin advised a limited ground incursion in talks with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant. The Pentagon has also dispatched a three-star Marine Corps general and other officers to serve as military advisors, demonstrating how deeply involved the US is with the war planning.

When Israeli ground forces entered Gaza on Friday, the enclave’s phone and internet services were cut, blacking out any media coverage on the ground and making rescue operations significantly more difficult. Services were restored on Sunday morning after 34 hours.

A US official told The Wall Street Journal that the US had convinced Israel to restore Gaza’s phone and internet service after shutting it down so the UN and aid groups could communicate with their staff inside the enclave.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel’s war in Gaza had entered a “second stage” and told Israelis to prepare for a “long and hard” offensive. Hamas’ armed wing, the al-Qassams Brigade, said Sunday that its forces were engaged in “heavy fighting with the invading occupation forces in northwest Gaza.”

While Israel’s ground incursion might be more limited than initially planned, its airstrikes have continued to pound Gaza relentlessly. According to Al Jazeera, Gaza residents described the weekend bombardment as the most intense yet. Gaza’s Health Ministry has reported the death toll in the enclave since Israel unleashed its bombing campaign has surpassed 8,000, including over 3,000 children.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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