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Israeli ground forces are attacking Gaza, Israel says

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An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Thursday, May 13, 2021. AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
  • Israeli ground forces attacked Gaza early Friday morning, according to a tweet by the IDF.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation will continue "as long as necessary" soon after the assualt began.

  • More than 100 people in Gaza have been killed since Monday, according to the BBC. Seven have reportedly died in Israel.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Israeli ground forces attacked Gaza early Friday, according to an Israeli Defense Forces tweet at 12:22 a.m. local time.

Two hours after the assault began, the IDF clarified that no Israeli troops had actually entered Gaza, suggesting Israeli ground forces were firing at the Gaza strip from Israel. Earlier reports incorrectly indicated Israeli forces had begun an invasion into Gaza.

The move marks a major escalation amid this week's ongoing violence between Israel and Palestinian militants. The region is facing its worst violence since the 50-day war in 2014, as the Israeli military bombards Gaza with airstrikes and Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, and other militant groups fire hundreds of rockets toward Israel.

Israel had prepared troops along the border of Gaza on Thursday, raising speculation of a possible invasion. But the IDF confirmed Friday that there had been no ground invasion into Gaza.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman told The New York Times that "There are ground troops attacking in Gaza, together with air forces as well."

Still, it was not immediately clear the extent of the Israeli assault.

"We are dealing with a campaign on two fronts. The first front - Gaza. I said that we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations," Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement early Friday. "We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force."

"The final word has not been said and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore the calm and security to the State of Israel," Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel.

BBC News reported that at least 1oo people in Gaza have been killed, including 27 children, since the violence began on Monday, which was set off by conflict between Israeli police and Arab worshippers at the Aqsa mosque. Seven have reportedly died in Israel.

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