Israeli ground invasion of Gaza inevitable if Hamas does not lay down arms: IDF

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Israel’s planned ground offensive in the Gaza Strip is inevitable if Palestinian militant group Hamas does not release all the hostages and lay down its arms, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Jonathan Conricus told Australian ABC radio.

Asked if a ground invasion is “inevitable”, Conricus said: “The aim here is to totally dismantle Hamas from its military capabilities. If that can be done from the air and with stand-off measures, with very limited exposure to our troops and less damage on the ground, that would be great.”

However, he added: “If Hamas were to come out of their hiding places that they hide underneath the Israeli civilians, which is what they're doing now, return our hostages — all 212 of them — and surrender unconditionally, then the war would end. If they won't, we will probably have to go in and get it done.”

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“The end state of this war is a dismantled Hamas that will never ever have the ability to threaten any Israeli civilians and of course to not perpetrate the type of monstrous attacks that they did on October 7. That is our aim,” the IDF spokesman said.

The IDF said on Monday it struck some 320 targets belonging to Hamas and the Palestinian Is-lamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip over the past day, according to the Times of Israel. The targets in-cluded tunnels where the militant groups’ operatives were hiding, military sites, observation positions, and mortar and anti-tank guided missile positions.

As the IDF prepares for a ground offensive in Gaza, the military said the strikes are focusing on sites that could potentially endanger forces, the report added.

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