Israel Begins Ground Operation in Gaza

    An Israeli soldier sits atop an armoured personnel carrier (APC), after the end of a five-hour humanitarian truce, near the border with the Gaza Strip July 17, 2014. Israeli leaders on Thursday played down prospects of a permanent Gaza ceasefire and fighting returned to a familiar pattern of Palestinian rocket salvoes and Israeli bombing after a five-hour humanitarian truce. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CONFLICT) - RTR3Z29J

    © Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Thursday that the country’s military will begin ground operations in Gaza. The aim of the offensive is "to target Hamas' tunnels that enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks," according to tweets posted on Israel Defense Forces' official account. The military claims to have identified about 13 Palestinians who entered Israel through a tunnel dug from Gaza. The country has summoned 48,000 reserve soldiers for the ground offensive and approved the draft of an additional 18,000.

    A Hamas spokesperson warned that a ground offensive is a dangerous step for Israel, saying the country "did not study the consequences. The occupation forces will pay a high price and Hamas is ready for this confrontation." The news comes shortly after the end of a six-hour ceasefire, which was enacted to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, where over 200 have been killed in the conflict. Since the end of the ceasefire, Hamas militants in Gaza have fired more than 100 rockets and mortar shells at Israel and Israeli airstrikes have claimed the lives of four Palestinian children. 

    Read it at Haaretz