The first night of the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza has killed at least 20 Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Friday morning to intensify the raid. “I have given instructions to prepare to significantly expand ground operation and the Army is responding accordingly,” he said after a meeting of his security cabinet.

The number of Palestinians killed since the fighting began 11 days ago is now 260. Israeli soldiers entered around midnight on the strip from the north and from the east, through the neighborhoods of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun. Only penetrated about 100 meters into Palestinian territory, witnesses said. Palestinians have places that Israel has been slow, with the same caution that observed in 2012. Just clean the area of mines and possible resistance before advancing with tanks followed by infantry. The sources explained that resistance found in Beit Lahia. It is not confirmed. In Khan Younis, south of Gaza City penetrated about 200 meters.

The Israeli army has fired 103 targets in Gaza, as reported on Friday.  “They were all legitimate targets,” said a spokesman, Capt. Roni Kaplan, because, he explains, had fired on the soldiers before. One of his soldiers has died from gunshots, which becomes the second Israeli fatality since the operation Margin Protector began.

On this first night of ground offensive, Israel has also destroyed 20 rocket launchers hidden in nine tunnels, precisely one of the objectives that the first priority Netanyahu brandished last night in this new phase of the operation. Kaplan describes the overland entry “moderate “. “We will continue advancing on Gaza, damaging deeper and Hamas,” said another military source the newspaper Yediot Ahronot. From ten o’clock Thursday night photo posted 50 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, especially towards the center of the country, sounding the sirens but without causing notable damage.

Washington approved the ground offensive through the Secretary of State, John Kerry, who called Thursday night to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Kerry said he expects a “precision operation” against the tunnels used by Palestinians from Gaza to harass Israelis. The U.S. statement emphasized the need for “safety of civilians” on both sides. According to the UN, civilians were more than 75% of the 260 Palestinians killed during this Israeli operation. Over 40 were children. In the same period, have died the Israeli soldier and a civilian.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has also supported the Israeli decision. Stressing that Hamas has “new quality” weapons, insisted that the attacked countries should be able to defend themselves. “Both sides must accept painful compromises but we are really affecting Israel to self-defense.”

Israel began a ground invasion of Gaza during the tenth night of the massive military operation on Gaza. According to various Israeli media, Israel on Tuesday and took the decision to invade, after negotiations with Hamas collapsed. It is the first ground invasion of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead, launched in late 2008. Hamas warned that Israel will pay a “high price” for this raid.

Israel has used the deaths of three Israelis allegedly in the hands of Hamas to launch armed offensive on Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister was also infuriated by the decision of two Palestinian factions to form a unity government and has never hid his desire to weaken Hamas using the incident of death of three Israeli teens. Israel accused Hamas for the killing but never provide any evidence to support the claim. So far over 260 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis to take revenge of three deaths of Israeli and still there is no sign that Israel will stop its atrocities soon.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement that these crimes against innocent civilians, women children and elderly, were unparalleled in the recent history of the world while referring to the Israeli aggression against Gaza.

“I am saddened and disappointed to note the silence of international community against this injustice,” said Nawaz Sharif.  “The silence and ineffectiveness of Muslim Ummah has made Palestinians more vulnerable and made Israel more aggressive,” Prime Minister added. “World must stop Israel from this naked and brutal aggression.

 

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