Israel girds for long war as death toll from Hamas terror onslaught passes 1,300

The Times of Israel reports: “The Israel Defense forces stepped up preparations Thursday for a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip to destroy the terror group as the death toll from Hamas’s massive onslaught passed 1,300. The military also said there were signs that Hamas was preparing for an extended conflict with Israel.

Israel is six days into a war with Hamas following the Palestinian terror group’s shock assault on Israeli communities in an early morning raid on Saturday. Over 1,300 people — most of them civilians — were killed, according to the latest toll, more than 3,300 injured, and an estimated 200 were captured and taken to the Gaza Strip. Their fate is not yet known.

As the slow, tortuous process of identifying bodies continues, funeral after funeral is being held across Israel for soldiers and civilians as the country reels from the mass infiltration and massacres of men, women, children, elderly people and hundreds of young partygoers at a music festival.

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters Thursday that forces ‘are preparing for a ground maneuver, if decided,’ but that the political leadership has not yet ordered one.

Meanwhile, the chief of the military’s Home Front Command said that the relatively slow rate of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over the past day indicated that the Hamas terror group was preparing itself for an extended fight…”

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