Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip on Thursday, marking a new level of conflict in the region amid days of escalating violence.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) tweeted Thursday (on the East Coast of the U.S.) about the operation, writing that "IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip."
IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 13, 2021
The move follows days of scattered airstrikes and rocket barrages between Hamas and the Israeli military.
“There are ground troops attacking in Gaza, together with air forces, as well," an Israeli military spokesman added to The New York Times. The spokesman later clarified that Israeli troops had not entered Gaza, suggesting the possibility of artillery fire from the outside, the Times notes.
In a second statement sent several hours later, an Israeli military spokesperson asserted to The Hill that Israeli ground troops were not currently in Palestinian territory.
"Clarification: there are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza Strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip," said the spokesperson.
Video of the attack shows the city's skyline lit up by consecutive bright explosions as Israeli warplanes roar overhead.
Northern Gaza is being crushed by warplanes! pic.twitter.com/ohorBPgIPq— Muhammad Smiry (@MuhammadSmiry) May 13, 2021
Meanwhile Palestinian factions managed to fire 50 rockets into Israel from Gaza as they were getting bombarded— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) May 13, 2021
Iron Dome interception over Beer Shevapic.twitter.com/NAJRTvNSJL
“The terrorist organizations in Gaza crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles at the entrances to Jerusalem. Israel will respond with great force," the prime minister added. “We did not want to escalate, but those who chose to escalate will be hit forcefully."