Israeli Tanks Hit Tunnels; Palestinian Toll Tops 330
Ground offensive in Gaza in second day
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2014 11:40 AM CDT
Israeli soldiers ride near the border with Gaza Saturday.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – With day two of its ground offensive in Gaza under way, Israel says it's discovered 13 tunnels used by Hamas to infiltrate the country or store weapons, reports AP. Israeli tanks and bulldozers are focusing on a strip about a mile wide near the border, looking for both tunnels and rocket pads, reports Reuters. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others injured today by Hamas fighters who emerged from one of those tunnels, reports the Washington Post. One Hamas militant also was killed in the firefight. Palestinians, meanwhile, say the death toll from Israeli airstrikes has passed 330, with nearly a quarter of those killed under the age of 18. In other developments:

  • NBC reporter returns: NBC has reversed itself and allowed Ayman Mohyeldin to continue reporting from Gaza, reports AP. The network pulled Mohyeldin for unexplained reasons after he reported on the deaths of four Palestinian children, noting among other things that he had just been kicking around a ball with them. The move set off a social media outcry, especially among fellow journalists, notes Mediaite. The network had nothing but praise for Mohyeldin's "extraordinary reporting" in announcing his return.
  • Analysis: In a New York Times analysis, Jodi Rudoren writes that the "landscape is different" than in years' past for this latest ground offensive, in ways that benefit Israel. This time, Israel "has publicly framed a clear agenda targeting tunnels it says militants built to store weapons or stage attacks on its territory. This time, a weakened Hamas cannot turn to Egypt for respite. This time, Western leaders appear more patient." That could change, however, if the ground offensive expands. Click for the full analysis.