News and links to photographs, videos and other information from Israel:
– IDF ground forces entered Gaza just after 10pm Thursday night. A further 18,000 reserve soldiers were called up during the night. In total, 48,000 reserve soldiers have been given emergency call up notices, known as a “Tzav Shmone,” (literally, Order Number 8 ) for Operation Protective Edge.
– Rockets firings have continued, sounding sirens in locations across the country yesterday and last night. In addition, sirens sounded on the Golan Heights Thursday night as one rocket was fired from Syria. The source of the Syrian fire is still unclear.
– 20 missiles were found stored in a United Nations (UNWRA) -run school in Gaza.
– IDF soldier, Sergeant Eitan Barak, was reported killed in Gaza, early this morning, with two more soldiers moderately wounded. Sergeant Barak was 20 years old and from Herzilya. This soldier is the first military casualty during the 11 days of Operation Protective Edge.
- At 9am, four more IDF soldiers were reported wounded, one moderately and three lightly. Three of the soldiers have been evacuated to Soroka Medical Center.
– On Thursday evening, the IDF overtook Gazan TV broadcasts in order to warn Gazan civilians directly of the upcoming ground offensive and to urge them to take shelter.
– Hamas repeatedly asks Palestinians to stay in their homes and act as human shields. According to Hamas officials, 243 Palestinians have been killed and 1,850 injured
– IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz briefed the General Staff late Thursday night prior to the IDF ground operation into Gaza. “Our forces will operate in close coordination, employing their full strength, both along the routes of deployment, and within the area itself, to achieve operational control in the area.…The IDF is doing everything in our capacity with the appropriate force, as proud Israeli soldiers. Good luck to us all.”
– The IDF struck 103 targets overnight, Thursday, including 20 concealed rocket launchers and nine tunnels. The IDF reports that “ground forces are advancing in their respective missions, including identifying and combating the terror tunnel threat.”
– After days of steady rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the launches came to a sudden halt as IDF forces entered the northern Gaza Strip. The quiet lasted for three hours, until Palestinian terrorists fired rockets toward the city of Ofakim at 1 am.
– Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, IDF spokesman, has said later Thursday that the operation is open-ended, “We will be striking the infrastructure and we will be striking the operatives in order to safeguard the civilians of the State of Israel, especially focusing on issues to do with tunneling, that was exemplified earlier today.”
– You can see this IDF video explaining how the ground offensive is aimed at destroying terrorist tunnels.
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