ISRAEL + HAMAS

IDF announces expanded ground operation in Gaza after heavy round of airstrikes

Oct 27, 2023, 12:11 PM | Updated: Nov 30, 2023, 5:35 pm

People search for survivors and the bodies of victims in the rubble of buildings destroyed during a...

People search for survivors and the bodies of victims in the rubble of buildings destroyed during an Israeli bombardment, in Khan Younis in southern Gaza on October 26, 2023. (Mahmud Hams /AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

(Mahmud Hams /AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

Originally Published: 27 OCT 23 13:39 ET

(CNN) — The Israel Defense Forces is “expanding ground operations” in the Gaza Strip, IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced Friday.

The announcement came after a series of intense airstrikes on the besieged enclave earlier Friday night, which multiple residents of Gaza told CNN were the most intense they have experienced since Israel began to retaliate against Hamas’ October 7 terror attack nearly three weeks ago.

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A CNN team on the ground in southern Israel, close to the border with Gaza, reported a series of large explosions rocked Gaza City in the north of the besieged enclave, as well as “unusual, intense and sustained” military activity for the past couple of hours. A huge wall of heavy smoke that lasted 15 to 30 minutes also blew from Gaza into southern Israel earlier Friday evening.

Palestinian telecom company Jawwal, which provides mobile service to the Gaza Strip, said in a statement Friday “the intense bombardment in the past hour has resulted in the destruction of all remaining international routes connecting Gaza with the outside world,” leading to a “complete interruption of telecommunications services.”

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IDF announces expanded ground operation in Gaza after heavy round of airstrikes