Saturday, January 16, 2021

Israel launches ground operation in besieged Gaza Strip

By Haley Paladino - July 18, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Gaza Blockade] [Operation Protective Edge]

Bombardment of Gaza.  |   Photo by Lazar Simeonov


The Israeli military launched a ground invasion on the beseiged Gaza Strip last night. 17 Palestinian fighters and one Israeli soldier have been reported dead.

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Libby Weiss told the Wall Street Journal the number of Israeli troops sent in to the Strip last night is "in the thousands," approximately the same amount sent in the beginning of 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead, a far bloodier 20 day campaign. No specific number of troops has been given, though 48,000 troops had already been readied and an additional 18,000 were called up Thursday evening.

The Israeli military has been awaiting orders from the cabinet to carry out ground operations since Operation Protective Edge began eleven days ago, according to military spokesperson. “We chose to go to this operation after we exhausted the other options and with the understanding that without this operation the price we pay will be much higher,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a nationally televised address earlier today.

Hamas has reported clashes with Israeli ground forces in Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis, Rafah and Umm Al Nasr. Last night's operations focused on Beit Hanoun, where soldiers seemed to be aiming fire at the farmland that punctuates the residential area, according to local reports. Nine Hamas members were killed last night trying to enter a tunnel into southern Israel, according to the Israeli military.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today there could be a "significant widening" of the ground operation. Domestic pressure on Netanyahu to reduce Gazan militant rocket fire at Israel is growing, according to an Associated Press report.

Since 'Operation Protective Edge’ began eleven days ago, more than 265 Palestinians have been killed, roughly 80 percent of which are civilians. One Israeli civilian was killed in an attack on the Erez border crossing.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki Moon implored Israel to take greater efforts to reduce civilian casualties caused by the operation. "There can be no military solution to this conflict," said Mr Ban.

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