Israel launched a ground invasion into Gaza Thursday night, killing 200 Palestinians and one Israeli, according to reports.
“We have hit Hamas hard and we will continue to hit Hamas hard,” Israel’s military said in a tweet after thousands of Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza.
Military spokesman said the goal of the invasion is to destroy tunnels used by militants to enter into Israel. They do not plan to reoccupy Gaza or overthrow the Hamas rule.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that the military is preparing for a “significant expansion” of the invasion if needed.
“At this point all options are on the table,” said Lt. Libby Weiss, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. “It’s not bound by time, [it's] more bound by objectives — to strike a blow to Hamas’ ability to carry out terror attacks against Israel.”
But Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhom said that the move is a “dangerous step.”
“They did not study the consequences,” he said. “The occupation forces will pay a high price, and Hamas is ready for this confrontation.”
The incursion came just hours after efforts to negotiate a truce between Israeli and Hamas. Those talks failed.
Secretary of State John Kerry is expected in Cairo Friday to try to continue the discussion.
Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, and over the past 10 days, the group has targeted Israeli towns with rockets.
The invasion was the first into Gaza since 2009 during a three-week battle with Hamas that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.
Publication date: July 18, 2014