The Israeli army said Friday its ground forces backed by fighter jets and drones carried out a “targeted raid” in Gaza over the past day, as it prepares for a land invasion. “During the last day, IDF ground forces, accompanied by IDF fighter jets and UAVs, conducted an additional targeted raid in the central Gaza Strip,” an army statement said. “The IDF identified and struck numerous terror targets, including anti-tank missile launch sites, military command and control centres, as well as Hamas terrorists,” it said, saying troops “exited the area at the end of the activity”. Black-and-white footage released by the military showed a column of armoured vehicles as a thick cloud of dust billowed into the sky after the strikes. The army conducted a similar ground operation using tanks and infantry the previous night in the northern part of the Palestinian territory. The latest incursions came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated earlier this week that Israel was “preparing for a ground offensive”. On October 7, throngs of Hamas gunmen poured from Gaza into Israel, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 224 more, according to Israeli officials. In retaliatory Israeli air and artillery strikes, at least 7,028 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 2,913 children, according to figures released by the Hamas-controlled health ministry. The fatalities in Gaza are the highest there since Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Palestinian territory in 2005.