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Netanyahu vows to destroy tunnels 'with or without ceasefire'
Published Thursday 31/07/2014 (updated) 31/07/2014 22:13
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An Israeli artillery gun fires a 155mm shell towards the Gaza Strip
from a position near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 30,
2014 (AFP Jack Guez)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that no ceasefire could stop Israel's army from continuing to destroy cross-border tunnels used by militants in the Gaza Strip.

"Until now, we have destroyed dozens of terror tunnels and we are determined to finish this mission -- with or without a ceasefire," Netanyahu said at the start of a special cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.

"So I will not accept any (truce) proposal that does not allow the (army) to complete this work for the security of Israel's citizens."

His remarks came two days after Hamas released a video of its fighters climbing up through a tunnel into Israel and attacking a military base in a raid Israeli officials say claimed the lives of five soldiers.

Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance factions said they had carried out attacks on military targets throughout the Strip and in southern Israel.

Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades said its fighters targeted a group of Israeli forces who were inside a house in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City that Israeli forces confirmed killed three, while Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades said it had fired 107 rockets at soldiers in Kerem Shalom.

Additionally, the Popular Resistance Committees said its militants injured Israeli soldiers in a firefight, and the Popular Front for the Liberation for Palestine said its military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, had targeted a military site in Eshkol with rockets.

Some 56 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the ground invasion in Gaza, and the army called up 16,000 reservist soldiers Thursday as it planned to expand its attacks on militant groups in Gaza.

The extra 16,000 brought the total number of reserve troops called up to 86,000. Israel has not said how many troops are currently engaged in the fighting inside the Gaza Strip.

US restocks Israeli ammunition despite civilian death toll

And Washington said it had agreed to restock Israel's dwindling supplies of ammunition, despite increasing international concern over the death toll in Gaza, where more than 1,400 people have been killed in 24 days of violence.

According to figures from the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, some 85 percent percent of the victims are civilians. Of the civilian dead, some 345 were children.

Following the Israeli shelling of a UN school in northern Gaza on Wednesday which killed 16, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay slammed Israel for its attacks on homes, schools, and hospitals, accusing it of "deliberate defiance" of international law.

"None of this appears to me to be accidental," she told reporters.

"There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel."

The shelling of the school also drew sharp condemnation from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who described it as "reprehensible," as well as from Washington.

Despite rising international calls for a halt to the bloodshed, the Israeli security cabinet decided Wednesday to press on with the operation in Gaza just hours after troops had made a significant advance into the narrow enclave.

The Israeli offensive began on July 8 with the aim of ending militant rocket fire, but expanded on July 17 with a ground operation aimed at destroying a sophisticated network of tunnels leading under the border, which Israel has vowed to dismantle.

Despite a heavy death toll in Gaza on Wednesday when 111 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, including 17 who died in a strike on a crowded market place and another 16 at the UN school, the Pentagon confirmed it had granted an Israeli request for ammunition, including some from a stockpile stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use.

Rights group Amnesty International had urged Washington to halt arms supplies to Israel.

Meanwhile, there was no letup in bloodshed with over 24 Palestinians killed on Thursday, raising the overall Palestinian toll to 1,395, medics said.

Despite the loss of life, there appeared to be little Israeli appetite for a truce, with a senior official telling Haaretz newspaper that a ceasefire was not even close.

Nevertheless, an Israeli delegation traveled to Cairo late Wednesday to discuss a possible ceasefire with Egyptian officials, an official at the airport told AFP.

Cairo, a key mediator in previous truce negotiations between Israel and Hamas, was also expected to host a Palestinian delegation later this week.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) fpm / USA
31/07/2014 16:53
tunnels that have been around for hundreds of years and were not being used to kill Israelis. If these tunnels were used for that purpose, the Zionist Media would have been all over it and those tunnels would have been destroyed before 2014. Who does the reincarnated Hitler/Netanyahu think he is fooling? This massacre has nothing to do with tunnels, it's all about keeping the 2 states an impossibility. This war was started by the Zionist who lied that Hamas had killed 3 students. LIARS

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
31/07/2014 16:56
So Netanyahu vows to destroy the tunnels with or without a ceasefire. Now who is taking care of the rockets that Hamas launch. If it is the Iron-Dome, its not doing a hell of a good job, and Netanyahu is leaving his own people at the mercy of the rockets. No wonder Hamas is still launching their rockets.

3 ) Free Palestinians - FROM HAMAS / UK
31/07/2014 17:09
@2 Don't over think it Yussef, go back to your madrassa. Gaza and Hamas will become demilitarized. The Jewish people and Israel will live in peace in their Holy Land.

4 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
31/07/2014 17:13
Hey fpm and Joe...why don't you go out and beat up a few injuns or darkies to let off some of your steam? You guys are such amateurs with your moronic theories.

5 ) Mel / USA
31/07/2014 17:16
This 'little-chip-on-his-should-Hitler'Yahu would've BOMBED JewishUndergroundResistance life-line TUNNELS in WW2 too,had suited his ZIONIST 'special interests', knowing how the Ashkenazi Israeli's even look DOWN on(lesser)other Jews,still referred to in Israel as "arsim".
Anus-bibi isn't bothered about"tunnels"in Gaza,he just wants Gaza either "purified"of non-Jews completely,or Palestinian Muslims &Christians CONSTANTLY BURIED under Zionist terrorism & CONTROL i.e.WAR CRIMES by Israel,period.

6 ) Levi / USA
31/07/2014 17:41
"Netanyahu vows to destroy tunnels 'with or without ceasefire'". As he should.

7 ) Arnold / Canada
31/07/2014 18:14
fpm/USA. Tunnels for war have been used for thousands of years. Depending on the entrance and exit explains their use. Starting points in Gaza extending into Israel are for sneak attacks and kidnapping. Those starting points in Gaza and extending to the Sinai ( Egypt) are for smuggling into Gaza. The three Israelis teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian militants be they Hamas or IJ or whomever were the impetus to enter into Gaza and discover the extent of those tunnels.

8 ) Maureen / Australia
31/07/2014 18:33
Netanyahu's killing spree is obviously about Palestinian population wipe out to enable Zionist theft of Palestine. The tunnels are really the result of Zionist oppression and theft.

9 ) Tobias / USA
31/07/2014 18:53
The Attack Tunnels will be destroyed, either with or without a ceasefire, and
- Israel will Not Surrender to any of Hamas' other demands (free prisoners, open borders, or ending blockade either). so
- Hamas should choose to save lives in Gaza by accepting a ceasefire !!

10 ) truth / australia
31/07/2014 19:01
@JoeFattal / USA...tunnels or no tunnels...read the history fall of mighty empire..

11 ) David / USA
31/07/2014 19:55
"Tunnels that have been around for hundreds of years..." fpm, you really take the cake! Sharon evicted Israelis from Gaza 9 years ago. Nine years is plenty of time to dig tunnels, every one of them. I'd say Iron Dome is doing a great job, since when a rocket does get through, people are injured and killed. Netanyahu does want two states, but the Arab state has to be disarmed- since they have proved they cannot be trusted to remain peaceful. (You know, it's that inconvenient 'jihad' thing.)

12 ) 87% of israel voted to / not leave GAZA
31/07/2014 20:21

13 ) Abdul / India
31/07/2014 23:01
The terrorist occupier israel anyhow wants to keep its occupati?n&oppressi?n of palestine people.everyone should support palestine in their resistance.Palestine must get their rights&justice.Its the duty of media to bring the terrorist occupier israel to justice.

14 ) Lez / New Zealand
01/08/2014 00:19
This turmoil is about More land theft and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians End of This is only the begining of the end for Israel.Your deeds are despicable

15 ) Outlier / USA
01/08/2014 02:43
14, Lez. "Ethnic cleansing?" You must be joking. Plenty of Palestinians live, work in Israel and are citizens of Israel, and they have the same rights as Jewish Israelis. Israel does not want Gaza. It wants the rockets to stop. War is deadly, bloody and inexact. Hamas precipitated this conflict and hid weapons and military personnel among Gazas civilians. It - and ONLY it - bears responsibility for their deaths.

16 ) ian / australia
01/08/2014 03:13
So now it's about tunnels. The NEW reason Israel's sadistic holocaust on Gaza will continue. But why? Isn't it a pretty simple operation for the IDF to locate tunnels where they ENTER Israel and seal them up or dynamite them (or even lie in wait for terrorists to appear, gopher-style) IN Israel, on THEIR side of the border? Why does destroying tunnels requiring slaughtering civilians IN Gaza? Of course, it's a matter of the OBJECTIVE of the operation, the TRUE goal, and as bringing an end

17 ) ian / australia
01/08/2014 03:14
(contd.) to rocket fire has never been it, that leaves only one: to create such chaos, hate and fear that discussion of statehood, borders and the rights of Palestinians is impossible. THAT'S the goal (and result) of the carnage and, one suspects, Bibi's deathbed promise to Benzion.
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