Israeli commandos make first ground incursion in Gaza: Radio

Published: July 13, 2014
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Israeli soldiers from the Nahal Infantry Brigade walk across a field near central Gaza Strip July 12, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

Israeli soldiers from the Nahal Infantry Brigade walk across a field near central Gaza Strip July 12, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

An explosion is seen in the northern Gaza Strip after an Israeli air strike. PHOTO: REUTERS Israeli soldiers from the Nahal Infantry Brigade walk across a field near central Gaza Strip July 12, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM / GAZA: Israeli navy commandos launched a ground operation overnight in the north of the Gaza Strip, the first since the offensive against Hamas began, Israeli public radio said early Sunday.

The brief incursion targeted a rocket launcher site, it said. The armed branch of Hamas confirmed that Israeli commandos had exchanged gunfire with some Palestinian fighters.

A military spokesperson later said four Israeli soldiers had been lightly wounded during the operation.

“During the mission a gunfight broke out, started by some terrorists operating at the site, during which four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded,” said the spokesperson who declined to give further details on the operation.

The Ezzedine al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, confirmed the exchange of gunfire “between our fighters and soldiers of the Zionist navy which tried to penetrate the zone of Sudanyia” in northwest Gaza.

It was the first ground operation in Gaza by the Israeli military since the start of its offensive, which has left over 150 Palestinians dead, on Tuesday.

Thousands flee 

Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza town on Sunday after Israel warned them to leave ahead of threatened attacks on rocket-launching sites.

“Those who fail to comply with the instructions will endanger their lives and the lives of their families. Beware,” read a leaflet dropped by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Lahiya, near the border with Israel.

Militants in the Gaza Strip kept up rockets salvoes deep into the Jewish state and the worst bout of Israel-Palestinian bloodshed in two years showed no signs of abating despite mounting international pressure to cease fire.

A Palestinian woman and a girl, aged 3, were killed in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Hours earlier, the ministry said 18 people were killed when the house of Gaza’s police chief was bombed from the air in the single deadliest attack of Israel’s offensive.

A long-range salvo on Sunday morning triggered air raid sirens at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion international airport, which has not been hit in the hostilities and where flights have been operating normally, and some city suburbs.

On Saturday night, Hamas made good on a threat to send rockets streaking toward Tel Aviv at 9pm and other areas in heavily populated central Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis sought shelter as Palestinians in the streets of Gaza City cheered the launchings, the biggest strike yet on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Those rockets and the ones unleashed on Sunday were intercepted by the Israeli-built, and partly US-funded, Iron Dome missile defense system that has proved effective against Hamas’s most powerful weaponry.

No one has been killed by the more than 800 rockets the Israeli military said has been fired since the offensive began, and during Saturday night’s barrage, customers in Tel Aviv beachfront cafes shouted their approval as they watched the projectiles being shot out of the sky.

Israeli leaflets dropped on Beit Lahiya, where 70,000 Palestinians live, said civilians in three of its 10 neighborhoods were “requested to evacuate their residences” and move south, deeper into the Gaza Strip, by 12pm.

The Gaza Interior Ministry, in a statement on Hamas radio, dismissed the Israeli warnings as “psychological warfare” and instructed those who left their homes to return and others to stay put.

The warnings cited roads that residents could use safely and said Israeli forces intended to attack “every area from where rockets are being launched”. The military did not say in the leaflet whether the strike would include ground troops.

It was the first time Israel had warned Palestinians to vacate dwellings in such a wide area. Previous warnings, by telephone or so-called “knock-on-the-door” missiles without explosive warheads, had been directed at individual homes slated for attack.

At least 4,000 people fled Beit Lahiya and crowded into eight UN-run schools in Gaza City on Sunday, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said.

Some arrived on donkey carts filled with children, luggage and mattresses, while others came by car or taxi. One man, still in his pajamas, said some residents had received phone calls warning them to clear out.

“What could we do? We had to run in order to save the lives of our children,” said Salem Abu Halima, 25, a father of two.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Pakistani
    Jul 13, 2014 - 1:09PM

    Why are you showing one side of a coin?

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  • baby doll main sone di
    Jul 13, 2014 - 1:39PM

    as long as Muslims are with Palestine because of religion i will always support Israel.

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  • Ovais
    Jul 13, 2014 - 1:57PM

    May Allah be with Palestenians, protect them and give them the courage and power to defeat the enemies of Palestine.

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  • Jul 13, 2014 - 2:06PM

    Still not what extremist shia backed terrorists syrian regime doing by annihilating entire neighborhoods with barrel bombs … Why not report shia aggression against innocent sunnis of syria, et?

    Recommend

  • Jul 13, 2014 - 2:13PM

    Shame on muslim leaders.specially Arabis..only egypt has extended some help….

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  • Dani
    Jul 13, 2014 - 2:46PM

    Shame on all these so called Muslim states who are reluctant to say even a word against this terror state.

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  • Muhammed Ali Chinappa
    Jul 13, 2014 - 2:58PM

    Looks like the Chosen people of God (Jhahweh) is defeating the people of the book, or the people of Allah. Alhamdulileh Oh great Godess, who is of Dark and Tawny hue, into whom everything dissolves.The Moslem world is dissolving.Soon it will be noo more.Recommend

  • Anon
    Jul 13, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Where are these poor guys running to?! Its already the most densely populated region (prison) in the world!

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  • Anon
    Jul 13, 2014 - 4:26PM

    “Hamas’s most powerful weaponry.” O come on! They’re basically glorified fireworks!

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  • Jazba-e-Jihad
    Jul 13, 2014 - 4:40PM

    What happened to the Ummah? I thought they would be rallying behind their brethren. All I see is that Taliban Khan is providing a good distraction in Pakistan.

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  • Sami Khan
    Jul 13, 2014 - 5:22PM

    its very tragic that ET is showing Israel as victim and not showing sufferings of Gaza people

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  • MAK
    Jul 13, 2014 - 6:05PM

    Shame on Israel for killing innocent people

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  • Stranger
    Jul 13, 2014 - 6:07PM

    Pleasantly surprised to hear that there r still some able bodied people left in that place to ‘fight’. At this rate majority would have been killed or maimed . I think even the gods have thrown up Their hands in despair at the violence and mayhem .

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  • Jul 13, 2014 - 6:21PM

    Barbaric Zionist thugs are destroying Palestine and and on killing rampage once again and the whole world cannot see this real terrorism by this illegal state..

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  • moeed
    Jul 13, 2014 - 6:26PM

    @baby doll main sone di:
    what’s that supposed to mean

    Recommend

  • Saad
    Jul 13, 2014 - 6:28PM

    As long as you support killing of innocent people and children no matter what there religion is I’ll always consider people like you heartless.@baby doll main sone di:

    Recommend

  • Jul 13, 2014 - 6:31PM

    Now Where are Hamas fighters ??? Coward hamas now fight with this army…

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  • Jul 13, 2014 - 7:45PM

    Its incredible how extremist shia has forced pakistan media to not even print anything remotely critical of iranian regime and Its support of on going génocide of sunni muslims being carried out by assads and their shia terrorists supporters in syria. This stranglehold is even tighter than israeli one on american media.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Jul 13, 2014 - 7:46PM

    More Israeli war crimes fully supported by the US/UK

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  • Hamza
    Jul 13, 2014 - 7:46PM

    @baby doll main sone di:

    why dont you move your baby doll like body and do some work rather than criticising everbody .

    Palestine jaan hai hamari because I am a Muslim first

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  • Jul 13, 2014 - 7:47PM

    @baby doll main sone di: And offcourse Its your support and islamophobia and not western military help that gives Israel the clear edge

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  • Sharif Ali
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:12PM

    What is ISIS doing? They have border with israel. Do they know only to kill fellow Muslim brothers? Why are they scared of attacking Israel?

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  • ....
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:17PM

    so if hindus are killed in pakistan you wouldn’t shed a tear? pathatic logic.

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  • Viking Star
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:19PM

    Shame on muslim countries and its leaders, specially oil rich countries. They are so busy spending their money on diamond studded cars. Why cant they have good armed forces, who stopped them from being strong? Would they always be puppets?

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  • PakPower
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:25PM

    @baby doll main sone di:
    Religion is a common factor, you can’t take its effect out. However most Muslims support their cause because it is just, as is Kashmir’s.

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  • Super
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:37PM

    To do.
    1. Pakistan should give an Open Immigration to Palestinians and given them space to live ideally a new city should be setup for them.
    Give them flights and bring them in the Pak.

    Pakistan should send its Airforce to Counter Isreallian Agrression.

    Palestinians Love Pakistan & We should respect that. Israel is just a small terror spreading state. We should send a batch of 50 JF Thunders to Protect Palestinians.

    Innocents should be protected from Terrorists.

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 13, 2014 - 9:46PM

    @Sami Khan:
    Would that Palestinian “suffering” possibly be the result of those notable Palestinian “resistance” groups who have continued to fire surface to surface rockets directly at Israeli cities, hoping to slaughter Israeli women and children????

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 13, 2014 - 9:50PM

    Would all please note that the Palestinians have nowhere to hide, because the Palestinian government had elected to amass an arsenal of surface to surface rockets to fire at Israeli cities, but had not bothered to build a single bomb shelter for those innocent Palestinians when the Hamas rockets were launched and the Israelis retaliated!

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  • Ahmed Siddiqui
    Jul 13, 2014 - 10:12PM

    Palestinians cannot obtain anything with continued violence against Israel. Rather they should accept the reality of Israel and learn to live with them and make a deal so that this region has peace. Unreal expectation are the root of the problem. Jews are also Abrahamic religion and if arabs and jews can coexist in other societies (like eg UK/USA, they can also coexist in middle east).

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  • rohit950723
    Jul 13, 2014 - 10:14PM

    Although Jews comprise only 0.2% of the world’s population, over 20% of Nobel Prize laureates have been Jewish, with multiple winners in each category. .. Even google is from Jews & facebook is from Jews…..

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  • unbelievable
    Jul 13, 2014 - 10:20PM

    Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza town on Sunday after Israel warned them to leave ahead of threatened attacks
    .
    Similar approach used by Pakistan in N Waziristan offensive.

    Recommend

  • Ecole
    Jul 13, 2014 - 11:03PM

    Isnt Pak army is doing the same thing? 1 million people are forced to leave their homes/land and PAF is bombing the entire are & destroying everything.

    Tribal areas has never been part of Pakistan. It belongs to tribal people, let them live how they want. But everyone here is proudly praising the Pak army while abusing the Israel.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 14, 2014 - 12:43AM

    @Super:
    And just WHERE do you suggest that those “50 JF Thunders” operate from to support Palestinians????
    Any thought to the logistics of supply for such an operation??? Probably not!

    Recommend

  • Javed
    Jul 14, 2014 - 1:16AM

    @unbelievable:
    After Talibans killed more than 60,000 Pakistanis! Now tell me how many Israelis were killed by Palestinians?

    Recommend

  • maryam
    Jul 14, 2014 - 1:23AM

    i seriously cant believe some people here, Palestinians are fighting for their very lives, rockets are a symbol of their resistance it is the same pathetic logic we use in karachi keep a cheap cell fone with you for the snatchers so that they wont kill you.

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  • blank_wisdom
    Jul 14, 2014 - 3:55AM

    Make no mistake, if we rage and further separate from peace talks, its a win for Israel.

    Recent proximity between Fatah and Hamas worried the Zionist on the Israel government. Having Hamas in the West Bank (they normally rule the Gaza strip) is something they simply do not intend to tolerate. They do not care the democratic credentials that Hamas has, and the fact that Hamas is a reality of the Palestinian voice.

    Real peace can not be achieve till all parties do not get involve in peace talks (fatah-hamas-israel). By Israel isolating hamas, its just proving that its final aim is to avoid peace and any real scenario of peace talks.

    Having a united Palestine means a stronger opponent, and again, that’s something Israel do not want. Israel is more than happy with Palestinians disputing the power of the little autonomy they have between themselves, thus changing their focus from the real problem.

    Keep in mind, that every year with out peace, means expansion of new Israeli colonies and consolidation of old ones in Palestinian territory. Israel actively seeks Palestinians to forget about their history and roots within the occupy land, and seeks expanding its own roots. Proves of land ownership and property will be much harder to prove for future Palestinian generations, and easier for Israeli, who will claim that that land belonged to them since their grandparents times, and earlier. The longer the Zionist occupy a land, the stronger case they will be able to make in a future to stay there and justify it!!

    Under their current apartheid system, they further get the benefits of cheap Palestinian labour to further consolidate their state economy, while they keep Palestinian economy (or better said, lack of economy) tied to them, thus Palestinians dependent on Israel.

    A terrorist act aims to strike civilians so due to the strike, or due to consequent actions of the strike, the people start rising pressure upon their own authorities and subsequently wakens them. Thus, Israel enforcing suffering and terror to Palestinian people, so this will blame Hamas and thus stop their support for Hamas, perfectly fits the definition of terrorism, thus, no room for doubt, ISRAEL IS A TERRORIST STATE!!

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  • Human
    Jul 14, 2014 - 4:31AM

    One need to be human to support ghaza, and condemn israeli barbarism

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  • kulwant singh
    Jul 14, 2014 - 5:22AM

    The poor people are suffering due to Hamash and Israilis will go after them if they throw rockets.

    Recommend

  • Impossible
    Jul 15, 2014 - 2:56PM

    @Hamza:
    You should be in Palestine. Talk is cheap.

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Jul 15, 2014 - 8:27PM

    @rohit950723: Nobel Laureates
    What was your point? Oh, and by the way, even President Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize, and I am not aware of him initiating any workable peace moves so far.

    Recommend

  • Adnan
    Jul 16, 2014 - 9:45PM

    @Super:

    Please wake up now. Thanks for sharing your sweet dream with us though!!

    Recommend

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