After the first full day of Israel operations in the Gaza strip, the IDF has been able to discover and destroy over 20 tunnels used by Hamas and other terrorist groups.
An additional 18,000 troops were mobilized last night, bringing the total Israeli soldiers ready for combat to over 60,000.
Over 15,000 rockets have been fired at Israel over the past month.
WHAT HAPPENED TODAY
- IDF soldier, Sergeant Eitan Barak, was reported killed in Gaza early this morning, with two more soldiers moderately wounded. Sergeant Barak was 20 years old and from Herzilya. This soldier is the first military casualty during the 11 days of Operation Protective Edge.
- At 9 a.m., four more IDF soldiers were reported wounded, one moderately and three lightly. Three of the soldiers have been evacuated to Soroka Medical Center.
- On Thursday evening, the IDF overtook Gazan TV broadcasts in order to warn Gazan civilians directly of the upcoming ground offensive and to urge them to take shelter.
- Hamas repeatedly asks Palestinians to stay in their homes and act as human shields. According to Hamas officials, 243 Palestinians have been killed and 1,850 injured
- IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz briefed the General Staff late Thursday night prior to the IDF ground operation into Gaza. "Our forces will operate in close coordination, employing their full strength, both along the routes of deployment, and within the area itself, to achieve operational control in the area ... The IDF is doing everything in our capacity with the appropriate force, as proud Israeli soldiers. Good luck to us all."
- The IDF struck 103 targets overnight Thursday, including 20 concealed rocket launchers and nine tunnels. The IDF reports that "ground forces are advancing in their respective missions, including identifying and combating the terror tunnel threat."
- After days of steady rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the launches came to a sudden halt as IDF forces entered the northern Gaza Strip. The quiet lasted for three hours, until Palestinian terrorists fired rockets toward the city of Ofakim at 1 a.m.
The U.S. Senate today unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution, co-sponsored by Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, expressing support for Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.
"Israel has the right to defend its citizens and ensure its survival - without qualification," said Sen. Toomey. "There is no moral equivalency here. Israel must be able to protect itself from rocket attacks without the global community imposing some double standard."
On a call with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama showcased his support for a limited Israel incursion into Gaza by saying "Our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels. And we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties."
"The secretary reaffirmed our strong support for Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist threats emanating from tunnels into Israel and expressed our view that this should be a precise operation to target tunnels, as described in a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces," Secretary John Kerry said in support of the operation on a statement released by the white house.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also showcased her support to the ground operation stating "that any country that is attacked in such a manner must have the right to defend itself."