The Israel Defense Forces will continue ground raids into Gaza in the coming days to prepare for the next stages of the war against Hamas, spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Thursday.
He said the IDF continues its strikes against Gaza from air and sea, and is focusing on killing senior Hamas commanders and destroying Hamas infrastructure.
"There will be more," vowed Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at a news briefing Thursday.
Gallant's comments echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address on Wednesday, during which he said Israel is "raining down hellfire on Hamas" and "preparing for a ground incursion."
Here's what else you need to know:
- Hostage situation: The families of hostages being held by Hamas warned the Israeli government that their "patience has run out," an urged the authorities to act immediately, according to a statement released Thursday. And a Hamas delegation held talks focused on the release of hostages in Moscow with a senior Russian foreign ministry official, according to Russian state media outlet TASS and a Hamas statement.
- Latest on humanitarian aid: The main United Nations agency aiding Palestinians said Thursday that its operations are being “paralyzed” in Gaza due to the lack of fuel, as Israel continues to insist supplies exist but are controlled by Hamas. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said 12 aid trucks entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt Thursday, carrying water, food, medicine and medical supplies — but no fuel. And France is chartering a special flight to transport 54 tons of emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Stopping short of calls for ceasefire: The leaders of the 27 European Union member states met in Brussels Thursday, where they expressed concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and called for aid to reach those in need via "humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs." The call for humanitarian "pauses" stops short of calling for a ceasefire, which several European leaders have previously ruled out. A divided UN has also failed to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza. Former Colombian president and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos lamented the lack of ceasefire Thursday, telling CNN's Isa Soares that Israel should not respond to Hamas’ “crime” on October 7 with “another crime.”
- On the ground developments: Israeli forces claim to have killed the deputy head of the Hamas intelligence directorate, one of the officials they hold partially responsible for planning the October 7 attacks, according to a joint statement from the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli Security Agency, or Shin Bet. Separately, roughly 900 US troops have deployed or are deploying to the Middle East to bolster US force protection in the region, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday.