Israel’s Netanyahu orders ground incursion into Gaza
israel army prepares to ground incursion into Gaza - Photo courtesy of Israeli Defense Forces' official Twitter account

CAIRO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Thursday evening launching a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli Defense Forces’ official Twitter account, which added that “a new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.”

“The prime minister and the defense minister have ordered the IDF to begin a ground operation in order to damage the underground tunnel terrors constructed in Gaza leading into Israeli territory,” the newspaper quoted a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

The order came after Israel’s earlier declaration of a six-hour truce proposed by the UN on Wednesday; Israeli Army had agreed to a ceasefire Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., said  Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri on his official Facebook account Thursday.

240 Palestinians have been killed and 1,770 injured since the beginning of Israel’s offensive on the Gaza strip, BBC reported Thursday.

The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israeli authorities found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was later found mutilated and burned, in what was widely interpreted as an act of revenge for the death of the Israelis. However, the Israeli military said it attacked 34 targets in Gaza, mostly belonging to Hamas, claiming that it did not link the strikes to the abductions, Reuters reported. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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