The IDF estimates that the operation to destroy terrorist tunnels will last at least 7-14 days.
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Operation Protective Edge is being expanded. The IDF began ground operations in the north of the Gaza Strip this evening, with tanks entering the Strip. The aim is to destroy terrorist tunnels extending from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, after escalation of the fighting by Hamas today. Channel 10 reports that the IDF estimates that the operation will last at least 7-14 days, and seeks to mobilize more reservists. Shortly after Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip, sirens were sounded on the Golan Heights, and a rocket hit was detected on the Syrian side of the Heights.
“The order for the operation tonight received the approval of the security cabinet after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal while Hamas rejected it and continued its rocket fire on Israeli cities. Hamas also failed to honor the humanitarian cease-fire initiated by the UN, and continued firing on Israel during the truce. In the light of Hamas’s criminal and unceasing aggression and its dangerous incursion into Israeli territory, Israel is obliged to act in defense of its citizens. Operation Protective Edge will continue until its aim is achieved of restoring calm to Israel’s citizens for long period, as well as significantly damaging the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
According to Channel 10, Egypt’s foreign minister blamed Hamas for the escalation, saying that “Hamas will be guilty of the death of everyone who is killed in this operation.”
Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said, “We are in a combined assault at full strength.” For his part, a spokesperson for Hamas said, “Israel has not taken into account the consequences of this step. This is a dangerous and foolish step for Israel; it will pay dearly.”
Late this evening, IDF commenced an offensive on a broad front along the whole length of the Gaza Strip, from Beit Hanoun in the north to Rafah in the south, involving the Air Force, Armoured Corps, and Navy. On the Palestinian side, four children were killed today in IDF attacks on Gaza and Khan Younis, bringing the number of Palestinian casualties to 235.
Meanwhile, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip this evening at the south and center of Israel. A salvo of rockets was fired at around 22:00 at communities in the coastal plain and Gush Dan. Seven rockets were intercepted over Gush Dan. One rocket fell on open ground in Kiryat Gat. No-one was injured.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com