Israel moved ground troops to its border with Gaza on Thursday, preparing for a possible invasion of the territory after days of violent clashes with Hamas.
“There are troops that are being moved towards the borders,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told the BBC. “It’s a preparatory move.”
“They are there in battle procedure, basically preparing for battle – that is what they’re doing,” Conricus said.
Israel and Hamas, the Gaza-based militant group, have exchanged air attacks this week. Hamas has fired some 1,600 rockets towards Israel, around 90% of which were blocked by the Iron Dome defense system.
Some got through and killed people, with a death toll of seven.
Israeli attacks in Gaza, delivered by its air force, have been more deadly, with a reported death toll in Gaza of 83.
The victims on both sides include children. Conricus, the IDF spokesman, said the Israeli military’s priority is “degrading enemy capabilities.”
Israel says that it targets Hamas facilities and launch sites for the rockets, and warns civilians to leave before the bombs drop. However, the mixture of military and civilian buildings in Gaza means that collateral damage is virtually guaranteed.
The violence of this week represents the most violent clashes between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 Gaza War.
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