Israel's Ground Op to Stop Hamas Rockets Underway
GAZA BORDER -- After 10 days of intensive Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel and Israeli retaliatory air strikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip, Israel is in the second day of a ground operation into Gaza.
Israeli tanks and foot soldiers crossed the border fence into Gaza late Thursday evening.
Except for the occasional flare, Gaza City was locked in total darkness and in that darkness, Hamas and Israel were locked in a life and death battle.
Israeli troops attacked more than 100 terror tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip.
The military said it thwarted an infiltration attempt through such a tunnel, killing one militant and forcing the others to return to Gaza.
Hours after the ground campaign began, explosions were still being heard in Gaza City as the IDF continued the next stage of Operation Protective Edge to stop rocket fire from Hamas-controlled territory.
The IDF sent messages to Gazans to leave their homes in areas near the border and places of fighting, warning them Israel would be using massive fire power.
Israel said the goal of the extended operation is to uncover terror tunnels, destroy the Hamas infrastructure, and return quiet to southern Israeli communities.
"The goal remains the same. The goal is to protect our people," Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, told CBN News. "I mean over the last 10 days we've had some 1,500 rockets fired by the terrorists in Gaza against our people. We've had barrage after barrage on our cities and we are taking [steps] as any other government would do to protect our people."
Friday morning, Hamas continued to fire rockets at southern Israeli communities, sending Israelis scurrying to their bomb shelters.
"Hamas has to be on the run," IDF Spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner told CBN News. "They cannot expect to be an authority that is responsible for the Gaza Strip and expect to carry out terrorist attacks on us. They have to realize that there's a price to pay when you stand behind and initiate and engage in terrorism."
For now, Israel seems to have limited backing from the international community. Even Egypt blamed Hamas for the ground incursion, saying that Hamas had refused attempts at a ceasefire.