Israel has increased its attack as ground troops and tanks roll into Gaza on Thursday, escalating the 10 day old conflict with the new phase of “Operation Protective Edge” already claiming 27 Palestinian casualties and over 260, mostly civilians in total.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that “My instructions... are to prepare for the possibility of significantly widening the ground operation, and the military is preparing accordingly," according to Reuters.
Netanyahu's office said in a statement “The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations' infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas will agree to a ceasefire deal if Israel lifts the siege on Gaza, the political chief of the organization Khaled Meshall told the Telegraph.
Hamas currently has mediators in Egypt.
Mr Meshaal made Hamas' demands clear. Israel must “stop the aggression” of air strikes against targets in Gaza, release the dozens of Palestinians detained in response to last month’s killing of three Israeli students in the West Bank, and “end the siege on Gaza permanently”.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has condemned the attacks, in a statement he said “I regret that despite my repeated urgings, and those of many regional and world leaders together, an already dangerous conflict has now escalated even further, I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties.”
teleSUR / as-YM