Israel accused of tricking major news outlets into reporting a fake Gaza invasion to lure Hamas fighters into tunnels that were targeted for massive airstrikes

  • Early Friday, it was widely, incorrectly reported that Israeli ground forces had advanced into Gaza.
  • Some observers blame the confusion on a military ploy to lure militants into the tunnels under Gaza.
  • More than 150 Israeli jets went on to intensely bombard the tunnel system, known as “the metro.”
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Reports in the international media that Israel had entered Gaza to battle militants are being viewed by some as the result of a ploy to lure the fighters into defensive positions that made them targets for Israeli airpower.

On Thursday, news that Israel Defense Forces troops were massing at Israel’s border with Gaza was widely reported. Then, early Friday in Israel, an IDF statement prompted news outlets to widely report that an invasion had begun. However, it gradually became evident that an attack did take place but did not involve Israeli troops entering Gaza.

Nir Dvori, a military reporter for N12, one of Israel’s leading news networks, described the original IDF statement as disinformation meant to prompt Gaza’s fighters to enter the tunnel system, known by the IDF as “the metro,” to prepare for street battles in the enclave.

“The IDF makes Hamas think that a ground operation is beginning, which causes the organization to bring in all its fighters, including the Nahba, the special force of Hamas, to go down into the tunnels and prepare for combat,” Dvori wrote.

Instead of the ground invasion, Israel relentlessly bombarded targets in northern Gaza from the air and with artillery, forcing families to flee, some still dressed in their celebratory outfits to mark Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

At least 122 Palestinians have been killed this week by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, including 31 children, according to local health officials. The attacks have come in response to rockets indiscriminately fired by militants with Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, which is home to more than two million people.

Israel has reported seven people have died, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.

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