Israel Begins Ground Assault In Gaza

The military announced it would send troops into the Gaza Strip in an effort to seal tunnels used by terrorists and to destabilize Hamas.
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 17, 2014

Israel has announced a major escalation in the 10-day-old conflict in the Gaza Strip. 

Thursday night, the Israel Defense Forces said a large military force had launched a ground operation aimed at destabilizing Hamas.

The stated reason is that a series of tunnels have been discovered linking Gaza and Israel. The IDF said earlier in the day it had discovered one such tunnel where 13 militants had tried to launch an attack on Israeli civilians.

The prime minister's office listed the goals of the ground assault in a statement: "to restore quiet and safety to Israelis for a long time to come, while significantly harming the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip." (Via Haaretz)

Although the government said the tunnel network was its reason for launching the attack now, a ground assault has been on the table since at least Saturday.

"Israeli troops massed at the border with Gaza, waiting to hear if they'll be sent in for a full-scale ground invasion." (Via Euronews)

The announcement comes hours after a humanitarian truce ended. The brief cease-fire, during which militants continued to launch rockets into Israel, gave civilians a chance to get supplies. (Via Channel 4)

"The people of Gaza city pouring out of their homes to drink in the freedom of their five-hour reprieve."

The Israeli government blames the conflict on the continued rocket attacks and the decision by Hamas to reject a longer-term cease-fire proposed by Egypt.