Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.
“The prime minister and defence minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel,” the statement said.
Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling along the Gaza border. This news come after a five-hour temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. But rocket fire between two warring sides resumed shortly thereafter.
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Gaza residents rushed to banks, vegetable markets and shops Thursday during a first U.N.-brokered lull in 10 days of Israel-Hamas fighting, but a quick resumption in hostilities after it ended signaled that a permanent truce remains elusive.
Hamas fired 10 rockets at Israel after the end of the temporary truce, while Israel launched two airstrikes at the Gaza Strip, security officials said.
Egypt persisted with diplomatic efforts to bring all sides to the table Thursday, with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas after Egyptian officials met separately with representatives of Israel and Hamas in Cairo. But the gaps remain wide.
(With AP inputs)