The Israeli military says it has launched a ground offensive in Gaza. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he had instructed the Israel Defense Forces to launch the operation to destroy underground tunnels that reach into Israel.
The army said in a statement late Thursday that after 10 days of Hamas attacks, it had “initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.” The army said the objective was to strike a “significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.” CCTV’s Stephanie Freid reports from Tel Aviv.
Israel announces start of ground operationThe Israeli military says it has launched a ground offensive in Gaza.CCTV's Stephanie Freid reports from Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Cabinet has authorized the call-up of an additional 18,000 reserve soldiers. The decision came after Israeli forces invaded the Gaza Strip late Thursday, escalating a 10-day military campaign against Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Thousands of Israeli soldiers had been on standby on the Gaza border in recent days, waiting for the order to go in. During this period, Israel called up 48,000 reserve soldiers.
The U.S. has been pushing plans for a cease-fire that Egypt proposed. But fierce fighting between Israel and the militant group Hamas in Gaza resumed almost immediately after a five-hour lull in attacks that the United Nations brokered to let Palestinians stock up on food and supplies after days of staying at home for protection. There were intermittent rocket attacks during the lull as well.
Palestinian militants fired more than 50 rockets at Israel, including a barrage at the Tel Aviv area, according to the Israeli military.
Israel responded with airstrikes, including the one that killed three children in Gaza City, according to a Gaza health ministry spokesman.
The latest wave of violence was spurred by last month’s kidnapping and killings of three Israeli teenagers who bodies were found in the West Bank, followed almost immediately by what authorities believe was a retribution attack on a Palestinian youth who was strangled, beaten and burned to death.
CCTV’s Aseih Namdar interviews Philip Wilcox, former U.S. ambassador and the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, to talk about Israeli offensive in Gaza strip.