Israel fired artillery and mounted more air strikes on Friday against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
As hostilities entered their fifth day, with no sign of abating, the Israeli military said in a statement shortly after midnight that air and ground forces were attacking the Hamas-run enclave.
Although the statement gave no further details, Israeli military affairs correspondents who are briefed regularly by the armed forces said it was not a ground invasion, and that troops were firing artillery from Israel’s side of the border.
Residents of northern Gaza, near the Israeli frontier, said they had seen no sign of Israeli ground forces inside the enclave but reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of air strikes.
The number of Palestinians martyred in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 113, the Ministry of Health said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday the campaign “will take more time”. Israeli officials said Hamas “must be dealt a strong deterring blow” before any ceasefire.
The U.N. Security Council will publicly discuss the worsening violence by Israel on Sunday, diplomats said after the United States earlier objected to a meeting on Friday.
The sound of artillery fire and explosions echoed across northern and eastern parts of Gaza into early Friday morning. Witnesses said many families living in areas near the border quit their homes, some seeking shelter at United Nations-run schools.
At least 113 people were martyred in Gaza, including 31 children, over the previous four days, Palestinian medical officials said. On Thursday alone, 52 Palestinians were martyred in the enclave, the highest single-day figure since Monday.