Hamas’ armed wing says it is fighting Israeli forces inside Gaza

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Hamas’ armed wing said Friday it was fighting Israeli forces in two areas inside Gaza, after Israel said it had extended ground operations in the Palestinian territory.

“We are confronting an Israeli ground incursion in Beit Hanoun (in the northern Gaza Strip) and in east Bureij (in the center) and violent engagements are taking place on the ground,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement.

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Earlier, a top Hamas official said the group was “ready” for an Israeli invasion of Gaza.

“If (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu decides to enter Gaza tonight, the resistance is ready,” said Ezzat al-Rishaq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, on social media platform Telegram.

“The remains of his soldiers will be swallowed up by the land of Gaza.”

Israeli air and ground forces are stepping up operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s chief military spokesperson said on Friday, amid reports of heavy bombing of the besieged enclave, where internet and mobile phone services were cut off.

Israeli forces have massed outside Gaza, where Israel has been conducting an intense campaign of aerial bombardment since a deadly October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

The Hamas government said Israel cut communications and most of the internet” across the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The government’s media office accused Israel of taking the measure “to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea.”

With agencies

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