Death toll mounts on both sides
IN THE space of seven days since the ground operation began last Thursday, Israeli units have uncovered the entrances to some 30 tunnels, a much larger underground network than the IDF originally believed to exist. The operation to destroy the tunnels has come at a price. Thirty-two soldiers were killed in fighting in the first seven days of the ground operation and one is still regarded as “missing”.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched over 2,000 rockets against Israeli targets; so far three civilians, have been killed.
The suffering of the Palestinian population has continued with nearly 700 dying. While Palestinian sources claim that over three-quarters of them were civilian, the IDF claims to have killed at least 220 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. Towards the end of the week, both sides were taking steps towards a temporary ceasefire. The Israeli security cabinet is split between ministers who believe that the IDF must press home its advantage and those who prefer a speedy ceasefire.
Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, said on Wednesday that it will not agree to a ceasefire before its demands are met for the blockade on Gaza to be lifted and arrested Hamas members to be released.