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Israel Launches Gaza Ground Operation

July 17, 2014 By:
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Israeli soldiers seen on a Merkava tank near the Gaza border in Southern Israel, on the tenth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 17, 2014. Photo by Flash90.

Israel launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip to destroy tunnels it says are used for terrorist activities.

“A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesman’s office said late Thursday on its Twitter feed. “A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.”

The operation is limited for now to tanks targeting ten tunnels in Gaza, the IDF said.

Israeli troops earlier Thursday stopped an attempted Hamas infiltration from the Gaza Strip, forcing 13 infiltrators back into tunnels.

"Breaking News: Israel's Ground Offensive has begun. May all our soldiers return home safe and sound," wrote the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia on its Twitter feed.

Israel launched Protective Edge in response to increased rocket fire on the country from Gaza. The Obama administration, which during the conflict has backed Israel’s right to defend itself, has said it would oppose a ground incursion.

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