Israeli forces on Thursday launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, the military said.
The operation came after 10 days of intense fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas, in which Israel hit more than 2,000 targets in Gaza and Hamas launched nearly 1,500 rockets at Israel.
BREAKING NEWS: A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 17, 2014
The Israeli prime minister himself evidently green lighted the operation:
The Israel Prime Minister's Office has released a statement confirming that Netanyahu has ordered the IDF to launch a ground offensive.— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) July 17, 2014
The reason for the invasion? To take out Hamas's "underground terror tunnels."
BREAKING: Israel PM Netanyahu says objective of ground operation is to destroy #Hamas underground terror tunnels— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) July 17, 2014
Or perhaps this had something to do with it:
Heavy barrage of rockets on Tel Aviv— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Or this:
A statement from the Israeli military said the operation will include "infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support."
Before dawn on Thursday, about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunnelled under the border, emerging near an Israeli community. At least one was killed when Israeli aircraft bombed the group, the military said.
Stay tuned for updates.
View of an explosion following an Israeli strike in Gaza City pic.twitter.com/1Rr5aEvSUt— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: At least 48,000 Israeli reservists have been "called up" and ordered to report for duty, according to Politico. Furthermore, the offensive has been described as "open-ended," and will be initiated on multiple fronts.
Israeli forces have not stormed Gaza since 2009.
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