Gaza will become a 'tent city': Israel masses 300,000 troops for invasion as it issues chilling warning to Hamas

11 October 2023, 12:59 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 13:36

Israeli troops are preparing to invade Gaza
Israeli troops are preparing to invade Gaza. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Will Taylor

Israel is preparing to send 300,000 soldiers in to Gaza as the country's force prepare to wipe out Hamas's ability to wreak more horror.

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The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been pummelling the densely populated strip since the terror group massacred towns and villages and kidnapped civilians.

Its air strikes precede what is expected to be massive ground invasion of the area, which contains two million people, after Benjamin Netanyahu called up reservists.

Reports attributed an IDF spokesperson as saying Gaza would end up a "tent city".

Read more: Israel 'has the right' to withhold power and water from Gaza, says Sir Keir Starmer

Armoured vehicles including tanks are poised to go in, and artillery is also massing at the border as part of Operation Iron Swords.

Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the IDF, said the military is preparing "to execute the mission we have been given by the Israeli government… to make sure that Hamas, at the end of this war, won't have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians".

But any battles in the dense urban environment - much of which is made up of homes built over places that once housed refugees fleeing their former homes in what is now Israel - is expected to be fierce.

Gaza is being flattened in Israeli strikes
Gaza is being flattened in Israeli strikes. Picture: Alamy
Tanks are massing at the border with Gaza
Tanks are massing at the border with Gaza. Picture: Getty

Hamas's destruction will be a difficult objective to achieve, especially with the group's experience of insurgency in Israeli-occupied areas.

Yoav Gallant, the defence minister, told soldiers: "We will not allow a reality in which Israeli children are murdered.

Read more: 'Toddlers, babies with their heads cut off': Israeli PM's spokesperson describes scene in border village after Hamas attack

"I have removed every restriction — we will eliminate anyone who fights us, and use every measure at our disposal."

Israel cut power to the strip after Hamas's rampage as it confirmed it was starting a siege, and it has struck targets from the air, forcing Palestinians to take shelter in schools or hospitals.

The strip has been left completely cut off after its only power plant stopped working.

Hamas has fired back rockets, and bombarded Ashkelon, near the Gaza strip, on Wednesday.

Israeli soldiers have massed at the border
Israeli soldiers have massed at the border. Picture: Alamy

Among the buildings are dozens of hostages taken by militants after they broke through the security barrier then escaped back to their territory.

Hamas has threatened to execute them in response to Israeli attacks.

More than 17 Brits are feared to be either dead or missing after the attack, including children.

Nathanel Young, 20, who went to school in London and was serving in the IDF, was killed, while the death of Bernard Cowan, who grew up in Glasgow, was also confirmed.

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, arrived in Israel to show Britain's "unwavering solidarity with the Israeli people", the Foreign Office said.

"He will be meeting survivors of the attacks and senior Israeli leaders to outline UK support for Israel's right to defend itself."

The IDF has also hit targets in Lebanon after Hezbollah attacked.

Gaza's health ministry says more than 1,000 people in the strip have been killed.

Israel says its death toll has climbed to 1,200.