JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli air and ground forces are stepping up operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel's chief military spokesperson said on Friday, amid reports of heavy bombing of the besieged enclave, where internet and mobile phone services were cut off.
"In the last hours, we intensified the attacks in Gaza," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a televised news briefing.
He said the air force was conducting extensive strikes on tunnels and other infrastructure.
"In addition to the attacks carried out in the last few days, ground forces are expanding their operations tonight," he said, raising expectations that the long-anticipated ground invasion of Gaza may be beginning.
Israeli forces have massed outside Gaza, where Israel has been conducting an intense campaign of aerial bombardment since a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Islamist movement Hamas.
Earlier on Friday, Palestinian mobile phone service provider Jawwal said that services including phone and internet had been cut by heavy bombardment.
A statement from the Palestine Red Crescent Society said it had completely lost contact with its operations room in Gaza and all its teams operating on the ground.
(Reporting by Henriette Chacar; editing by James Mackenzie, Chris Reese and Howard Goller)