Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to begin a ground incursion into Gaza on Thursday night. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called for the ground operation in order to damage underground tunnels leading into Israeli territory.
The move came just hours after the Israeli army thwarted an infiltration attempt by armed Palestinians through a tunnel from Gaza.
According to the statement, the order was “approved by the security cabinet, after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal which Hamas rejected and proceeded to fire rockets at Israel.”
Palestinian sources say 240 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, including seven children who died Thursday. Approximately 1,800 have been injured. One Israeli died as a result of mortar fire from Gaza on Wednesday night.
According to Reuters, Gaza residents and medical officials reported heavy shelling along the eastern borders from the southern town of Rafah up to the north of the enclave. Ma’an News Agency reported that over 20 Palestinians have been wounded since the ground incursion began.