“We will do everything we can, from air, sea and land, to ensure the safety of our forces and achieve the objectives of the war,” he added. This Monday, the Israel Defense Forces claimed to have hit 600 targets in Gaza in the last 24 hours.
“We can here see and hear parts of this second stage happening before our eyes and ears,” reports Ritters, who is close to Gaza’s northern border. “We see constant artillery attacks as well as more distant air attacks, we hear fighter jets flying overhead from time to time.”
From where she is, the DW correspondent said it was possible to hear machine gun fire, which indicates that the Israeli military and Hamas fighters are relatively close. Still, “in terms of the second phase, we don’t know exactly what it means militarily,” she noted.
It is almost impossible to obtain reliable information about the situation of people in Gaza due to the internet and telephone blackout in the region since Friday. Ritters says it is not known how much Hamas resistance Israeli troops are facing. “We’re getting misinformation from all sides, hearing things on social media. It’s still too early to say what’s really going on,” he adds.
In the bulletin released on Sunday, the IDF reported that at least two of its soldiers were injured.
‘Only at the beginning’
For expert Jonathan Panikoff, from the American think tank Atlantic Council, the question remains open as to what the size and scope of the land offensive will be.