More killed in clashes between Israeli military and militants in Gaza

Nearly 20 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in the clashes early Friday

(Associated Press)

Nearly 20 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed as troops clashed with militants in Gaza on Friday after Israel launched a ground operation aimed at destroying tunnels and halting rocket fire by the enclave's Hamas rulers.

Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.

The Israeli military announced its first casualty since the start of the ground operation, saying one soldier mwas killed in the northern Gaza Strip. The circumstances behind his death were not immediately clear, with Hamas' military wing saying it ambushed Israeli units in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and caused casualties but Israeli media saying it was likely a case of friendly fire.

Gaza health officials said 19 Palestinians have been killed since the ground operation began late Thursday. The military said it killed 14 militants in different exchanges of fire. It was not immediately clear if the militants were among those reported killed by Gaza authorities.

Israel's chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz told Army Radio ``there were a number of points of friction through the night'' and said the military was investigating the circumstances behind the soldier's death.

In a statement, the military said it targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other targets. The military said ``a number'' of soldiers were injured throughout the night.

In Gaza City, plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from areas near the border with Israel and explosions echoed throughout the city.

Israeli aircraft have struck more than 2,000 targets in Gaza and 260 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting.

The Israeli military said 50 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of its ground operation, out of more than 1,500 since the fighting began last week. An Israeli civilian was killed earlier this week.

Israel said it launched an open-ended assault on several fronts, with the primary aim being to destroy underground tunnels into Israel built by Hamas that could be used to carry out attacks.

Earlier Thursday, 13 heavily armed Hamas militants had tried to sneak into Israel through such a tunnel, but were stopped by an airstrike after they emerged some 250 metres (820 feet) inside Israel.

Israeli officials have said the goal is to weaken Hamas militarily and have not addressed the possibility of driving the Islamic militants from power. However, Hamas has survived Israeli offensives in the past, including a major ground operation in January 2009 from which it emerged militarily weaker, but then recovered. Hamas has since assembled thousands of rockets and built a system of underground bunkers.

Israel had been reticent about launching a ground offensive for fear of endangering its own soldiers and drawing international condemnation over Palestinian civilian deaths. But Israeli public opinion appears to strongly support the offensive after days of unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza and years of southern Israeli residents living under the threat.

Israel's Cabinet was set to meet later on Friday to be briefed on the assault.

Uri Ariel, a Cabinet minister from the hard-line Jewish Home party, told Israel Radio that airstrikes alone would not neutralize Hamas' weapons. He said he expected that ground forces would penetrate Gaza further. ``There won't be a choice. The military will need to enter deeper,'' he said.

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  1. Karl Burgin posted on 07/18/2014 09:37 AM
    "Uri Ariel, a Cabinet minister from the hard-line Jewish Home party, told Israel Radio that airstrikes alone would not neutralize Hamas' weapons. He said he expected that ground forces would penetrate Gaza further. ``There won't be a choice. The military will need to enter deeper,'' he said."

    Unfortunately the guy has a point there. If it is the only way these people will get the message that relentlessly launching rockets into a civilian populated area is not cool, so be it.
    1. Frankie posted on 07/18/2014 10:41 AM
      @Karl Burgin Unfortunately the Hamas leadership is only interested in eliminating Israel. They tell their inhabitants to stay put when the Israelis warn of an impending attack so they can attempt to claim victory by pointing to civilian deaths. Unfortunately too many in the Western world choose to believe this nonsense.

      Lenin referred to them as "useful idiots".
  2. Art posted on 07/18/2014 10:24 AM
    Israel wants millions of Palestinian people to live in a prison enclosure while they live well all the while basically the whole country is supported by American aid. the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world is Israel in weapons and money. won't happen! they will fight back with whatever they have and they won't fight fair they don't have gps on rockets, they have a right to defend themselves and unfortunately collateral damage will happen. this will never stop in this sinkhole part of the world until the rest of the world steps in to stop it. you couldn't pay me enough to ever vacation in the middle east where these religious quacks live on both sides
    1. Jason posted on 07/18/2014 10:39 AM
      @Art Interesting take you have, Art. A "prison enclosure"? You do know that Arab people move about for daily needs all the time in Israel. Yes, Israel is the #1 recipient of US aid. But #2 is Egypt. That sort of destroys any inference you were making that the US and Israel are part of some cabal to destroy Palestinians. Research the West Bank and the Gaza strip - Palestinian land given over by Israel. And Israel lives "well" because they are a highly educated, modern thinking, pro-western country. They aren't throwing missiles around, governened by ancient, violent dogma.
    2. Frankie posted on 07/18/2014 10:43 AM
      @Art Inasmuch as you've never been there or seen the reality your comments demonstrate complete ignorance.
    3. Karl Burgin posted on 07/18/2014 10:51 AM
      @Art Are you freaking kidding me?

      Israel is enclosed by enemies on all sides that potentially wants them obliterated off the face of the planet.

      When you have groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, that purposefully put innocents into the line of fire, because they don't have the balls to fight whatever war they've initiated themselves, are these the type of people you're throwing your support behind?
      Collateral damage does happen in war- that is a given. But it is not something sought after. Hamas are using people as human shields because they WANT collateral damage. All so they could drive home the point "You see, the Israelis are killing innocents...".
      That tactic might work in garnering sympathy from small-minded gullible sheeple.
    4. Art posted on 07/18/2014 11:36 AM
      @Jason highly educated modern thinking? probably a certain small percentage i wouldn't disagree. The Jewish people have had many many intelligent and highly respected scholars and business people. the settler and hardcore right wing religion category and their mentality i would not agree. Aid for Egypt is probably more about having influence in the region.
      why can't a nation of 80 million or whatever it is support themselves.
      i just can't help thinking how the American public that doesn't support occupation and oppression feel about their tax money going to a nation that basically is supported by the U.S.
      How do they feel about their tax money going for weapons supply. A nation that as the richest on earth doesn't even supply universal health care for their people but they have the money to prop up others. i wouldn't be happy
  3. *** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** posted on 07/18/2014 11:13 AM
    Appearing on these pages daily, offering opinions on every topic known to humanity, may we present Karl Burgin (a troll who never lets his lack of knowledge get in the way).
    1. *** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** posted on 07/18/2014 11:59 AM
      @*** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** Remember folks, war on the other side of the world is nothing but yet another opportunity to nurture an online grudge against a faceless stranger you've never met!
    2. *** THE REAL SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** posted on 07/18/2014 12:12 PM
      @*** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** Congratulations on being so easily duped, Karl.
    3. dama posted on 07/18/2014 12:21 PM
      @*** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT *** Apparently Karl is a contributor on these pages with his OWN opinion and on every topic known to humanity and not necessarily everyone agrees as we do have our own takes on matter.. and I guess his opinions on evry topics irks you..

      If you want to post or contribute to CFRB 1010 forums. post them else stay quiet..

      Back on Topic: I dont really want to get into this Palestine/Israel conflict for this thing will never be resolved.. its an ongoing thing.. just loook at history on that region..

      Peace out..
    4. Art posted on 07/18/2014 12:44 PM
      @dama i couldn't agree more. this area lives for conflict and hatred. nothing will change in our lifetime. the youth on both sides have to grow up without hatred and strive for peace and the old guard die off.
      make love not war!
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