Latest on the Israeli ground offensive

Israeli ground troops began moving into the Gaza Strip on Jan. 3 shortly before 7:30 p.m. Paris time (GMT+1). Keep track of the unfolding operations with the timeline below.


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All times are Paris time (GMT+1)



Sunday 11 January 2009

7:45 pm: Israel begins sending reservists into Gaza to bolster army forces

Israel has begun sending reservists into the Gaza Strip to take part in operations along with regular army forces involved in its ground operation, Israel's Channel Two reported.

3:07 pm: US president-elect promises to become “immediately engaged” in Mideast peace efforts

In an interview with ABC television’s “This Week” news program, US President-elect Barack Obama defended his reluctance to speak out on Israel’s actions in Gaza before he officially becomes president on Jan. 20 but promised to become “immediately engaged” in Middle East peace efforts when he takes office. Obama said he was forming a diplomatic team for the region so that "on day one, we have the best possible people who are going to be immediately engaged in the Middle East peace process as a whole."

12:40 pm: Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister says the end of the offensive in Gaza is near

Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told public radio that the offensive in Gaza is nearing its end following a resolution passed by the UN Security Council on Jan. 8 ordering both Israel and Hamas to end the fighting. "The decision of the Security Council doesn't give us much leeway," Vilnai said. "Thus it would seem that we are close to ending the ground operation and ending the operation altogether."

9:42 am: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that Israel is nearing its goals in the Gaza Strip

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel was nearing the goals it had set for itself under Operation Cast Lead but that the offensive would continue. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Olmert said that "Israel is approaching these goals, but more patience and determination are required.”



Friday, January 9


03:33 am: Un Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire


The UN Security Council voted to call for an "immediate, durable" ceasefire in the Gaza Strip leading to the "full withdrawal" of Israeli forces. Fourteen out of 15 members voted for the text; the United States abstained.



Thursday, January 8


09:50 am:  Western and Arab ministers agree on draft truce agreement



Western and Arab foreign ministers agreed on a compromise draft resolution calling for an immediate Gaza ceasefire and decided to put it to a UN Security Council vote, a Palestinian diplomat said.


09:00 pm: Obama may agree to talks with Hamas



According to the Guardian newspaper, US President-elect Barack Obama's administration may consider holding indirect negociations with Hamas leaders. This is a major step away from the Bush administration's official policy, which considered Hamas a terrorist organization and refused to take part in any form of negociation with the group.


07:35 pm: UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon condemns attack on UN convoy in Gaza



UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack on a UN-flagged convoy that killed at least one person in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the 13th day of Israel's offensive in the Palestinian territory, his spokesman said.


03:30 pm: UN aid agency in the Gaza Strip suspends all operations



UNRWA, the main UN aid agency operating in the Gaza Strip, said it had suspended operations in the embattled Palestinian territory on Thursday after a UN-flagged convoy was hit by Israeli tank shells, killing at least one person. This came two days after Israeli bombardments hit three different UN schools on the Gaza Strip. UNRWA did not indicate how long the suspension would last.

10:38 am: Hezbollah says not involved in rocket attack

Hezbollah made it clear to the Lebanese government, in which it has a representative, that it was not involved in Thursday's rocket attack into northern Israel, Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri told AFP.

10:09 am: UN force in South Lebanon on alert

The UN force in south Lebanon was placed on alert after rockets were fired at Israel from the zone, a French military official said.


08:45 am: Israel kills Palestinian in West Bank

Israeli security forces shot and killed a Palestinian in a confronation in the occupied West Bank, Israel's Zaka rescue service said. Israel radio said police had shot the Palestinian in a confrontation after he set fire to a gas station at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank near Jerusalem.


07:25 am: Israel retaliates after rocket fire, fires back into Lebanon

Israel fired artillery at Lebanon in response to rockets fired at northern Israel, the Israeli army said. A military spokesman said Israel aimed "a pinpoint response at the source of fire." An Israeli security source said Israel had fired five artillery shells.

06:48 am: Up to five rockets from Lebanon hit Israel

Between three and five rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, Lebanese security sources said on Thursday.

00:47 am: Israel intensifies ground assault

After a brief pause, Israel resumed its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, with more tanks entering the territory and planes bombing suspected tunnel systems along the Egyptian border.


Read previous posts on the Israeli ground offensive



Fighting in the Gaza Strip. Footage by Gaza-based Ramattan news agency.


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