Operation Protective Edge
Brief Update on IDF Ground Incursion into Gaza #4
At this point of time (three-to-four hours following IDF’s incursion), the real scope of the military operation remains unclear. In his statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that if necessary the operation will be expanded.
2014-07-18 by Friends of Israel Initiative
July 18, 2014
• In the late evening of July 18, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commenced an additional phase of Operation Protective Edge – the ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.
• The stated mission of the ground incursion is to abolish the makeshift concealed tunnels dug by Hamas and connecting Gaza into Israeli territory used to infiltrate the Israeli border and stage terrorist attacks on Israeli territory.
• IDF has entered Gaza Strip along the entire stretch of the border with Israel – in the north, center, and south – and has deployed a massive ground force consisting of armored, infantry, and artillery units in battalion formations and supported by the Air Force and the Navy.
• The immediate trigger for the ground invasion was another failed attempt of Hamas to launch a ground terrorist attack on Israeli territory using one of concealed tunnels (early morning of July 17).
• The failure of the second round of attempt to reach a ceasefire agreement in Cairo (July 16-17) due to the intransigence of Hamas reinforced the Israeli decision to launch the ground invasion. Thus, the ground offensive is also an attempt to compel the Hamas to accept the Egyptian proposal.
• Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shukri blamed Hamas for the failure to reach an agreement and for the Israeli ground incursion. This is the first time that a senior Arab decision-maker publicly blames an Arab party for an Israeli military operation.
• At this point of time (three-to-four hours following IDF’s incursion), the real scope of the military operation remains unclear. In his statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that if necessary the operation will be expanded.
• The beginning of the ground operation is expected to increase international involvement in the crisis and efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement. Secretary Kerry and French Foreign Minister Fabius are expected in the region over the weekend.