The Israeli military is “not up to the job” and may never launch its full ground offensive, an academic has suggested.
Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian academic, told Sky News she believes the Israeli government is “too afraid” to let soldiers take up arms on the ground in Gaza.
“They’re too scared,” she said.
“Those Israeli soldiers… are reservists. They don’t have the experience; they don’t have the training.
“I really suspect that the Israeli government is scared that if they give the order for these troops to come into Gaza and really face Hamas fighters, then they might fail.”
Many might be killed and some may even flee, Ms Karmi said – a situation Israel “cannot afford”.
Israeli military: At least 222 hostages in Gaza
The number of people confirmed as being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza is now 222, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said.
The figure is an increase from the 212 thought to have been captured in the 7 October incursion.
Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the IDF has been carrying out “limited” raids in the region to target Hamas gunmen and search for hostages.
He also claimed airstrikes are focusing on areas where Hamas is assembling to combat any wider Israeli offensive.
As we reported earlier, the Israeli military said it carried out more than 300 airstrikes in the past day on “terrorist infrastructure and military targets”.
More than 4,600 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.