By COLlive and Ynet
After 10 days of fighting and 2 failed cease fire agreement, Israel Defense Forces’s ground troops were ordered to invade the Gaza Strip in a full assault on Hamas’s terror capabilities.
The ground operation began Thursday night with heavy artillery shelling of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, Ynet reported.
The army fired numerous flares to light up the night sky over the Strip, and the Israel Air Force increased its aerial strikes, while attack helicopters were circling the northern Gaza sky. The Navy fired several shells from the sea.
The incursion signals a new stage in the Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which began 10 days ago in the face of the ongoing rocket barrages on southern communities.
Since the start of the operation, militants in the Strip have expanded their targets to include areas of central Israel, with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem coming under fire, along with Holon, Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion and Yavne.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made the call to invade Gaza following fierce criticism from the Israeli public and government officials continues heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza Strip fired at southern and central Israel.
The IDF has dropped leaflets in 14 areas of Gaza, urging residents to temporarily leave their homes. The IDF has provided instructions as to which areas civilians may go in order to seek safety.
“We know that Hamas terrorists are operating underground, and that’s where we will meet them,” IDF Spokesperson wrote on Twitter. “Our goal is to target Hamas’ tunnels that enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks. This requires precise operations.”
IDF forces identified approximately 13 terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel and attack a kibbutz through a terror tunnel constructed by Hamas.
The public is asked to pray and do a Mitzvah in merit of the soldiers and Israel’s citizens.
Watch Live: Israel launches ground offensive against Gaza.
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