The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began a ground operation into Gaza on Thursday after a brief truce.
The goal of the IDF is to strike signicifant damage to the infrastructure of Hamas. According to a statement by IDF, the ground phase “will include close coordination between IDF units including infantry, armored corps, engineer corps, artillery, and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support.”
“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Earlier on Thursday, Israel and Hamas had agreed to a five-hour humanitarian truce which brought peace to the area for the first time in almost two weeks.
The IDF warned the citizens of Gaza to evacuate their homes by dropping 100,000 leaflets over the area and leaving recorded phone messages for hundreds of thousands of civilians.
President Obama stated that the United States would continue its diplomatic effort.
“The Israeli people and the Palestinian people don’t want to live like this,” Obama said. “They deserve to live in peace and security free from fear. And that’s why we’re going to continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the ceasefire and we support Egypt’s continued efforts to bring this about.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel would use as much force as necessary to restore quiet.
“In light of Hamas’ unending criminal attacks, and its dangerous incursions into Israeli territory, Israel is forced to defend its citizens,” said Netanyahu .
“Operation Protective Edge will continue until it achieves its objective – 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,” he continued.
He also noted Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal which Hamas rejected and proceeded to fire rockets at Israel.
— by JNS.org
Christian News Journal staff contributed to this report.