“In light of Hamas’ incessant criminal aggression and dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel must act to protect its citizens.” ~Israeli Prime Minister’s Office
For the second time in a week, Hamas has shown utter disregard for ceasefire attempts brokered by Egypt and the UN. This morning’s ceasefire was to be a 5-hour ceasefire in order for the UN to get relief aid into Gaza. I have seen conflicting reports as to whether or not any rockets were fired into Israel during that ceasefire. However, confirmed reports indicate that air raid sirens were going off in Israel at 3:01pm…one minute after the ceasefire ended. In fact, rockets were launched in barrages of 12-20 at a time within minutes.
Secret Israeli cabinet meetings, as well as secret negotiations with Egypt to advance the hopes of a ceasefire, have been held since Tuesday’s failed ceasefire. After that ceasefire fell through, cabinet ministers approved the ground operation and authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to move forward with plans for a ground assault.
The decision was made to delay the ground assault in order to allow more time for Egypt to negotiate a ceasefire. Israeli officials traveled to Egypt on Wednesday to discuss a ceasefire, but it was apparent that Hamas demands were unrealistic. The Israelis did agree, however, to honor the UN 5-hour ceasefire today.
After alerting 100,000 Gazans to evacuate their homes, the IDF began a major ground offensive at 10:00pm (Israel time) today. (3:00pm Eastern time today.) Israel’s stated goal in the mission is to “restore quiet for an extended period of time, and deliver a significant blow to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.” They are operating in most parts of Gaza and are focused on destroying the extensive terrorist tunnel network (among other terrorist targets). Officials have indicated that the ground assault will last as long as necessary.
Just prior to the beginning of the ground assault, a heavily armed, 13-member Hamas assault squad made their way through one of the tunnels into Israel in order to kidnap and massacre citizens of Kibbutz Sufa. However, as they emerged from the tunnel and realized they were discovered, they attempted to return to Gaza via the tunnel but were met by an Israeli Air Force aircraft. Welcome to Israel! Eight of the terrorists were killed by the airstrike and the others scrambled back through the tunnel. It is believed that these terrorist were intent on kidnapping Israelis to use as bargaining chips.
In addition, terrorist rockets have been found hidden in a UN Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza. Israel’s Foreign Minister stated, “Yet again, Gaza terrorists abuse UN facilities to carry out their violent activities. Hamas and other terror groups are determined to put civilians in harm’s way and will respect nothing in their violent frenzy.”
For more reliable behind-the-scenes detail, click here.
As the ground invasion gets underway, the likelihood of more casualties on each side increases. Please pray for safety of innocent civilians, particularly children. Many are being used as human shields and terrorists seemingly have no regard for human life. May the Lord show Himself strong, and may the Palestinian children be protected by our All-Loving Savior, Jesus Christ. “Lord, have mercy!”
Pray, dear friends, pray!