Israel abandons full-scale operation in Gaza, opts for selective strikes against Hamas
Israel's plans for a full-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip have changed after joint efforts by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other officials. The IDF continues selective strikes against Hamas
The New York Times reported the information, citing anonymous US officials.
Israel's decision to refrain from a full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and conduct more limited strikes was coordinated with proposals by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, US officials said on October 28.
Biden administration officials warned that it was difficult to predict Israeli actions as the increased airstrikes and expanded ground incursions over the past three days suggest a more aggressive posture, but that so far the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza is smaller than what the Israeli military initially described to Austin and other senior US military officials. The initial plans for an Israeli invasion raised concerns in the United States, which said the IDF was not ready to launch a ground invasion yet.
Austin, in a phone call with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, emphasized the need “for careful consideration of how Israeli forces might conduct a ground invasion of Gaza,” where Hamas maintains a tangled network of tunnels under densely populated areas.
An anonymous US official said Israel had refined the plan after comments from Austin and other officials. However, the White House insists that the United States does not dictate Israel's actions regarding the invasion of Gaza.
Other factors that may have influenced Israel's plans include pressure to negotiate hostages and internal conflicts over strategy, location and timing of an invasion among Israeli political and military leaders.
US officials say Israel appears to be conducting a phased operation with smaller reconnaissance units moving into Gaza to locate Hamas fighters, confront them, and find their weaknesses.
On Saturday, October 28, Israel announced that IDF fighter jets had struck 150 underground targets in the northern Gaza Strip, including terrorist tunnels, underground fighting positions and additional underground infrastructure.
In addition, the Israeli Defense Forces said that during the night air strike, the head of the Hamas Air Force, Issam Abu Rukbeh, and the head of the Hamas Navy, Ratib Abu Tzahiban, were killed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the second phase of the war against Hamas had begun with the deployment of new ground forces in Gaza.