Israeli ground forces enter Gaza in escalation of War
As Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza on Saturday night, a Hamas spokesman warned in a televised speech that the coastal strip will become a graveyard for Israeli soldiers.
, Hamas warned Israeli forces that "Gaza will not be paved with flowers for you, it will be paved with fire and hell."
By sending ground troops into the Gaza Strip, Hamas said, Israel was falling into "the trap that our fighters had prepared for its soldiers and tanks."
The movement's armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement that "the Zionist enemy will see surprises and will regret carrying out such an operation and will be a heavy price. Our militants are waiting with patience to confront the soldiers face to face."
Ismail Radwan, a Hamas spokesman just said on CNN
that Hamas will win, that Gaza will be the grave yard
for Israeli soldiers, that Hamas will fight to the
last drop of blood and defeat Israel.
Ehud Barak, Israeli defense minister is speaking now.
He said the ground operation will not be quick or easier.
He said Israel is prepared for a two front war if Hezbollah
enters the conflict. He said Israel cannot and will not accept
Hamas firing rockets into Israel and the operation will continue until rocket
attacks will continue. He said Israel will do as much as possible
to avoid civilian casualties but that Hamas will be targeted
wherever they are.
The top Hamas leader is now speaking, in Arabic, about this invasion. CNN says it will soon broadcast a translation.
From al Jazeera:
Speaking to Al Jazeera, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said: "They [Israeli ground forces] will be completing the mission of the air force, going for Hamas headquarters and weapons caches and giving a blow to their capability to launch attacks into Israel."
Alan Fisher, Al Jazeera's correspondent on the Israeli-Gaza border, said that the Israeli army had confirmed it had entered Gaza and that he had witnessed the movement of tanks and armoured vehicles in the area.
Hamas had earlier vowed to defeat the Israeli army if it invaded the territory.
Update from Haaretz, Israel
"The objective is to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure in the area of operations," said Israel Defense Forces Major Avital Leibovitch, a military spokeswoman, confirming that incursions were under way. "We are going to take some of the launch areas used by Hamas."
The IDF Spokesperson's office issued a statement, emphasizing that this stage of the operation will further the goals of the eight-day offensive as voiced by the IDF until now: To strike a direct and hard blow against the Hamas while increasing the deterrent strength of the IDF, in order to bring about an improved and more stable security situation for residents of Southern Israel over the long term.
Update from NYT
Israeli troops backed by helicopters advanced into Gaza on Saturday, a Palestinian witness and the Israeli army said, in the first ground action of an eight-day offensive against Hamas in the Palestinian enclave.
The small column of military vehicles crossed the boundary fence into the northern Gaza Strip under darkness, said the witness, a resident of Beit Lahiya.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the incursion and said the aim was to seize areas from where Hamas was launching rocket attacks on southern Israel.
"The objective is to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure
It is not yet known how
big this will be or how
long it will last. It does change
the dynamics of this war.
I will do updates on this.
Gaza Strip -- Israel's military says ground forces are crossing the Gaza border in an escalation of Israel's week-old offensive against the territory's militant Hamas rulers.
Israeli TV channels are broadcasting images of troops marching into Gaza after nightfall. The military confirmed a ground operation was underway.
Defense officials say around 10,000 soldiers have massed along the border in recent days.