The army says the goal of the Gaza op “is to establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety without continue[d] indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.” Since the start of the ground op, the army counts some 50 rockets fired at Israel, 25 of which actually land inside Israel. Twenty are intercepted by Iron Dome and a handful fail to make it out of Gaza. An anti-tank missile also hit an armored bulldozer, the army says, damaging the vehicle but not the soldiers operating it.
The IDF exposes and destroys some 20 concealed rocket launchers, strikes nine tunnels and hits 103 “terror targets” all told, it says Friday morning. “Additionally, IDF ground forces are advancing in their respective missions, including identifying and combating the terror tunnel threat,” the IDF says in a statement. The initial results “thus far fall in line with IDF expectations.” One IDF soldier, whose identity has not been released yet, was also killed in the fighting after being critically injured during clashed near Beit Hanoun. He was announced dead at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon; the soldier’s family has been notified. Four additional soldiers were also injured during the ground offensive overnight; one suffered moderate injuries and three others light injuries. Many of the injuries were to the face and neck; all of the wounded soldiers are being treated at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.
Gaza have been eliminated, the IDF announced Friday. A senior official involved in the operation spoke to Arutz Sheva on the condition of anonymity early Friday, and noted that the operation – which is “the most extensive operation” ever carried out by IDF forces in Gaza – is ultimately designed decimate Hamas, far beyond what was achieved in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. The official added that the real conflict is yet to follow. “The operation will include three stages: an integrated air and sea assault, a ground operation from the Army, and the third part – if and when it is needed – would be expanding the operation, including recruiting more reservists,” he said. As of Friday, 48,000 reserve soldiers have been called up; an additional 18,000 were approved for reserve duty Thursday night.
Source: Times of Israel