Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Israel invades Gaza after Hamas rejects truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Israeli soldiers invaded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas’ weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory’s border with Israel.

It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years and came after Egyptian-led efforts to broker a cease-fire failed. Earlier Thursday, 13 Hamas militants tried to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel under the Gaza-Israel border, but were stopped by an Israeli strike at the mouth of the tunnel.

The military said the operation was open-ended and would be carried out on several fronts in the coastal strip.

Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City after Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

“Our forces, large ground forces accompanied by massive air force support, naval forces and intelligence, are taking over targets in Gaza, operating against tunnels and terror activists and infrastructure,” Israel’s chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz said.

He called on Gaza residents to evacuate areas where the military is operating, warning the “military is operating there with very great force.”

Thousands of soldiers backed by tanks and huge DC9 bulldozers entered the Hamas-ruled territory after 10 p.m. Thursday, security officials and Israeli media said.

Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike hit the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Israel “will pay dearly” for the assault. “Hamas is ready for a confrontation,” he said.

An official in the Gaza security operations room reported heavy Israeli tank shelling along Gaza’s border areas with Israel since 8 p.m. Thursday.

“All border areas are under fire. There is a tank shell every minute,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with briefing regulations. “There is also fire from the sea toward police checkpoints.”

Thousands of Israeli soldiers had massed on the border with Gaza in recent days, waiting for the order to go in. Israel had called up 48,000 reserve soldiers and Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, another Israeli military spokesman, said more could be called up.

The ground operation followed a brief truce earlier Thursday in which Israel held fire to allow Gazans to stock up on food and other necessities after being largely holed up at home since the conflict began last month.

Since July 8, Israeli strikes have hit more than 2,000 targets in Gaza and Hamas launched nearly 1,500 rockets at Israel, the Israeli military has said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he instructed the army to go ahead after Hamas rejected an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week and after Hamas militants tried to infiltrate into Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.

“In light of the despicable and relentless aggression by Hamas and the dangerous infiltration into Israel, Israel is obliged to protect its citizens,” the statement said.

Israel last carried out a major ground offensive in Gaza in January 2009. The ground operation came toward the end of a three-week military campaign.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

 

Best of the Web


Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!