18/07/2014 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Israel’s military began its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip late on Thursday with the aim, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, of destroying of all tunnels between the territory and Israel. “Following ten days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the Israel Defence Forces (army) has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement. The army went further by saying the offensive, which includes air and ground assaults, seeks to “protect Israeli lives and crush Hamas.” The number of reserve troops was boosted to 18,000 after the government approved the whole operation. According to AFP, a spokeswoman said the decision raised the aggregate number of soldiers since the start of Operation Protective Edge to 65,000. Yet, she did not mention how many of them had actually been mobilised..