Israel Launches Major Ground Operation In Gaza

IsraelREUTERS/Baz RatnerIsraeli soldiers walk near the border with the central Gaza Strip July 14, 2014.

The Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip has begun.

For the past couple of weeks, the Israel Defence Forces have had tens of thousands of reserves mobilized for a possible expansion of Operation Protective Edge, aimed at the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.

“This stage of the operation will full cooperation between infantry, the armoured corps, naval and aerial forces,” IDF spokesperson Eytan Buchman told Business Insider by email. Other Israeli military officials have confirmed the expansion of operations as well.

Ten days of aerial bombardment has killed over 200 Palestinians without convincing Hamas to cease its rocket fire on Israeli targets. At this point, rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa have become routine, and it appears that the patience of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has seemed resistant to a ground invasion, and fired a deputy defence minister for criticising his allegedly passive policies in the Strip — has finally run out.

The operation comes less than 18 hours after terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israeli territory using underground tunnels. Israel was warning Gazans about a potential ground invasion as early as July 12th.

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