IDF spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz said on Thursday night that the IDF was dealing the terrorists in Gaza a powerful blow.
Addressing the media as the IDF launched a ground operation in Gaza, Almoz called on the residents of Gaza to stay away from areas in which Israeli troops are operating.
"We are entering the second part of the operation after the very significant achievements we accomplished in the first part,” he said. “We severely harmed Hamas, its infrastructure and its activists, and will continue to harm them also in the second part of the operation.”
Almoz added that ground forces, assisted by the Air Force and the Navy, were taking over targets in Gaza.
"Our troops over the past several days were engaged in promoting preparedness for this part [of the operation],” he said. “All the commanders, from the battalion commanders to the Chief of Staff, approved the plans and were engaged in many details in order prepare the troops.”
"Our forces are determined and full of motivation,” said Almoz, adding, “I ask the residents of Gaza to evacuate the areas in which the army is operating.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier Thursday that that the ground operation in Gaza was meant to hit the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory, adding that the operation was a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
Hamas, meanwhile, responded to Israel’s actions by threatening that it will pay a "high price" for launching a ground assault on Gaza.