This morning, Israel held a temporary ceasefire for a five-hour period to allow civilians in Gaza to buy essential supplies and to permit that other humanitarian needs take place. Despite this humanitarian "ceasefire truce," Hamas breached the ceasefire within two hours and fired several rockets into Israel.
This being the second ceasefire rejected by Hamas, along with all other diplomatic alternatives, Israel had no choice but to begin a targeted ground operation into Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the operation to destroy Hamas's terror tunnels that are impossible to destroy with air strikes and to more completely damage the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.
"A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun. The new phase follows 10 days of Hamas attacks on Israel by land, air and sea - and repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation" said the IDF spokespersons unit.
Prior to the ground incursion, the IDF dropped leaflets to warn civilians to evacuate.
The decision was made after IDF soldiers identified a group of 13 heavily armed terrorists attempting to enter Israel from the southern Gaza Strip. The gunmen emerged from a tunnel 250 meters inside Israel, two kilometers from Kibbutz Sufa in the Eshkol region, and were detected by the IDF, which attacked the group and destroyed the tunnel. The terrorists attempted to drop their weapons, including hand-held RPG rockets, and flee. The IDF footage of the attempted attack can be seen here.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, responded to the attempted attack by saying that the timing "is not random" but shows "how cynical Hamas can be" by planning such a maneuver at the outset of a humanitarian ceasefire. In the seven hours after the end of the failed ceasefire on Thursday, Hamas launched over 100 missiles into Israel
More than 1,381 rockets have now been fired by Hamas into Israel since July 8, the start of Operation Protective Edge. That is an average of over 145 rockets per day aimed directly at heavily populated civilian areas.