Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent ground forces into Gaza Thursday night.
“A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip,” Israel Defense Forces . “A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.”
Israel is targeting tunnels Hamas uses to infiltrate its territory.
The army said the offensive is meant to strike a “significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.”
Netanyahu’s office instructed the army to prepare for a ground offensive after Hamas rejected a cease-fire proposal from Egypt, The Associated Press reports.
The army has not provided details about the scope of the operation or the number of troops involved.
The IDF’s Southern Command is leading the ground offensive, to the Jerusalem Post. The army will be calling up reservists.
“In light of the despicable and relentless aggression by Hamas and the dangerous infiltration into Israel, Israel is obliged to protect its citizens,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Sirens could be heard across Israel, to Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
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Israel Launches Ground Offensive In Gaza