Israel launches ground operation in Gaza StripUpdated: 2014-07-18 10:21:32 (KST)
We'll connect now to the NewsCenter where our Eunice Kim is standing by with a big development in the Middle East on this Wednesday.
Eunice after 10 days of aerial assaults Israel has now dispatched **ground troops into Gaza?
That's right, Jinjoo. The ground operation began around 10pm on Thursday local time that's about 4 in the morning here in Korea.
A statement from the Israeli military said the operation will be open-ended and cover multiple fronts. In addition to the existing aerial and naval assaults it will include a large force comprised of "infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence" teams.
We're also hearing the Israeli Cabinet approved more reservists some 18-thousand of them to boost the 48-thousand reserve soldiers already called up many of them who had been on stand-by at the Gaza border in recent days.
Here's Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman explaining the reason for the escalated offensive:
"The only reason there is combat tonight, the only reason that the Israeli government had to send in troops, is because Hamas rejected the ceasefire proposals that were put on the table by the Egyptians."
The fighting had resumed following Thursday's 5-hour-long ceasefire called for by the United Nations. Palestinian health officials had said at least 233 Palestinians were killed before the boots were sent in. Israel says its responding to the rockets Hamas is firing its way now numbering more than 13-hundred.
(MARK) Eunice the Israeli military says it wants to destroy tunnels Hamas has dug out of the Gaza Strip into Israel as this is where Palestinian militants are said to be launching rocket attacks, right?
Yeah, that's correct. Reports say it was before dawn on Thursday that about a dozen Palestinian fighters actually succeeded in reaching an Israeli community.
Israeli military said it bombed the group killing at least one. And they'll continue to target such tunnels, as well as other infrastructure it sees as a threat.//
Meanwhile, Gaza health officials reporting that the ground operation has already claimed civilian lives, including a 3-month-old boy who died after a shell hit his family's tent in southern Gaza. They said the body was evacuated on a donkey cart because ambulances couldn't reach the area due to heavy shelling.
No time frame has been announced for this new operation but more civilian casualties will likely heat up international pressure calling for a ceasefire.
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