Israeli Ground Troops Enter Gaza

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2009 2:37 PM CST
Israeli Defense Force troops mobilize on January 3, 2009 on the Gaza/ Israel border.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – Israeli tanks and infantry battled with Hamas forces today after Israeli ground forces rolled into the Gaza Strip after nightfall, Reuters reports. Israel says it plans to seize areas used by Hamas to fire rockets from northern Gaza. "The objective is to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure in the area of operations," a military spokeswoman said.

"What this will do is undermine the peace process," said a chief negotiator for the Palestine Authority, CNN reports. A spokesman for the military arm of Fatah stepped up the rhetoric, saying, "We will defeat the army just like they were defeated before. We will rub their noses in the sand." The ground assault comes after Israel shelled the area and dropped leaflets warning residents to flee, the New York Times reports.