The delays, doubts and diplomacy around an Israeli invasion of Gaza: ‘Full throttle will be costly’

While troops are conducting raids backed by tanks and armoured bulldozers, and Benjamin Netanyahu is talking up the prospect of a full-scale ground assault, the picture is more complicated – and uncertain, writes Kim Sengupta

Thursday 26 October 2023 19:36 BST
<p>Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel </p>

Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel

The Israeli raid into Gaza was not unexpected, such probing operations are normal tactics before a large-scale offensive. The aim is to degrade the enemy’s capabilities in sections of the battlespace by destroying defensive positions, including ambush points, sweeping for mines and boobytraps and killing combatants.

The operation was, however, widely publicised, with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) issuing videos of columns of Merkava tanks entering the territory with drones flying overhead. Also in the imagery were Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers which will play a highly important role in what is likely to lie ahead.

The incursion took place just after the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had announced that Israel was determined on a full-scale ground invasion. That speech came after reports began to surface that his government has had to delay the offensive to allow the Pentagon the time to place air defences in military bases in the Middle East which have come under attack following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

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