20 killed as Israeli troops push into Gaza

2014-07-18 09:56
An Israeli military jeep patrols near the Israel-Gaza Border. (File, AP)

An Israeli military jeep patrols near the Israel-Gaza Border. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem – At least 20 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed as troops clashed with militants in Gaza on Friday after Israel launched a ground operation aimed at destroying tunnels and halting rocket fire by the enclave's Hamas rulers.

Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late on Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.

The Israeli military announced its first casualty since the start of the ground operation, saying one soldier was killed in the northern Gaza Strip.

The circumstances behind his death were not immediately clear, with Hamas' military wing saying it ambushed Israeli units in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and caused casualties but Israeli media saying it was likely a case of friendly fire.

Plumes of black smoke

Gaza health officials said 19 Palestinians have been killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday. The military said it killed 14 militants in different exchanges of fire. It was not immediately clear if the militants were among those reported killed by Gaza authorities.

Israel's chief military spokesperson Brigadier General  Moti Almoz told Army Radio "there were a number of points of friction through the night" and said the military was investigating the circumstances behind the soldier's death.

In a statement, the military said it targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other targets. The military said "a number" of soldiers were injured throughout the night.

In Gaza City, plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from areas near the border with Israel and explosions echoed throughout the city.

Israeli aircraft have struck more than 2 000 targets in Gaza and 260 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting.

2009 major ground operation

The Israeli military said 50 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of its ground operation, out of more than 1 500 since the fighting began last week. An Israeli civilian was killed earlier this week.

Israel said it launched an open-ended assault on several fronts, with the primary aim being to destroy underground tunnels into Israel built by Hamas that could be used to carry out attacks.

Earlier on Thursday, 13 heavily armed Hamas militants had tried to sneak into Israel through such a tunnel, but were stopped by an airstrike after they emerged some 250 metres inside Israel.

Israeli officials have said the goal is to weaken Hamas militarily and have not addressed the possibility of driving the Islamic militants from power.

 However, Hamas has survived Israeli offensives in the past, including a major ground operation in January 2009 from which it emerged militarily weaker, but then recovered. Hamas has since assembled thousands of rockets and built a system of underground bunkers.

International condemnation

Israel had been reticent about launching a ground offensive for fear of endangering its own soldiers and drawing international condemnation over Palestinian civilian deaths.

But Israeli public opinion appears to strongly support the offensive after days of unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza and years of southern Israeli residents living under the threat.

Israel's Cabinet was set to meet later on Friday to be briefed on the assault.

Uri Ariel, a Cabinet minister from the hard-line Jewish Home party, told Israel Radio that airstrikes alone would not neutralize Hamas' weapons. He said he expected that ground forces would penetrate Gaza further.

"There won't be a choice. The military will need to enter deeper," he said.
- AP
Read more on:    hamas  |  palestine  |  israel  |  gaza  |  middle east peace  | 
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
46 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.