Israel Defence Force (IDF) troops were positioned near the border with Gaza on Saturday on suspicion that Hamas militants have crossed into Israel.
Army video showed what the IDF say were tunnels being exploded.
Saturday was day three of Israel’s Gaza ground operation. Euronews correspondent Valerie Gauriat spoke with IDF spokesman Captain Eytan Buchmanhow and asked him how much longer it was expected to take.
“The timeline for this operation isn’t dictated by time, it’s not days, it’s not weeks, it’s a mission,” Buchmanhow explained. “We were given a mission by the government, to stop terrorist attacks, to stop the rockets and protect Israelis. We’ll operate for as long as we need to do that; if we can accomplish that sooner, then we’ll be out of there sooner,” he added.
According to Gaza officials, at least 325 Palestinian people, including 70 children have been killed in the 12-day battle.
“Mistakes will happen,” said Captain Eytan Buchmanhow, adding, “it’s an operation in an urban population; we’ve hit over 2000 targets and the incidents in which civilians were killed are still the vast minority.
“At the same time we hold Hamas responsible for these deaths. They’re dictating where we’re operating, based on where they are operating from. And we’ll continue to operate there. We have a right, we have an obligation to protect our civilians and that’s what we’ll do.”
Euronews correspondent Valerie Gauriat reported from Jerusalem: “Even if the Israeli army succeeds in destroying the tunnels, it may not overcome the determination of Hamas. There’s no guarantee that diplomatic efforts underway this weekend will stop the operation whose first victims are civilians.