Ground offensive begins in Gaza
I am temporarily pausing the series titled Goliath to present information concerning the crisis in Israel and Gaza.
After days of waiting and deliberation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night directed the IDF to send ground troops into Gaza to strike the terror tunnels into Israel.
Earlier the Israeli military had said that about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunnelled under the border into Israel, emerging near an Israeli community.
The statement said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon directed the IDF to prepare to expand the ground operation. The statement said that the security cabinet approved the operation after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal on Tuesday, which Hamas rejected. In addition, the statement said, Hamas even fired rockets during the Thursday's five-hour humanitarian cease-fire.
“In light of Hamas' continuous criminal aggression, and the dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel is obligated to act in defense of its citizens,” the statement said.
The statement said that Operation Protective Edge, now in its 10th day, will continue until its goals are reached: restoring quiet for an extended period of time and delivering a significant blow to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.
Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.
The ground invasion comes hours after a Hamas assault squad of thirteen highly armed terrorists attempted to carry out a massacre of civilians at Kibbutz Sufa, near the border, before being blocked by the IDF.
Infantry, Armored Corps, Engineering Corps, artillery, and intelligence units are taking over various areas in Gaza, and are all working with one another and the air force. They are operating in northern, central, and southern Gaza, where Hamas has dug an extensive terrorist tunnel network.
The IDF's Southern Command is overseeing the ground offensive.
"The operation has reached its ground phase," Almoz said. "Large numbers of forces began a focused effort to destroy tunnels in Gaza.