Iran: Gaza land invasion sign of Zionists' desperateness versus resistance

Tehran, July 18, IRNA – Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said here Friday bestial land invasion of Zionist regime against Gaza is a sign of desperate impotence of them in confrontation with brave resistance of Palestinian nation.

'This invasion opened a new page in the book of the criminal and inhumane acts of the Zionist regime,' said Marziyeh Afkham.

She said that launching a land invasion against a nation that has been under severe and illegal siege for seven years and is therefore deprived of the most initial human needs, including medicine and medical services and facilities after ten days of air and missile strikes is quite obviously an absolute war crime.

'This invasion takes place in the absence of the will power of the concerned international organizations and their ignoring of the sensitive responsibilities they have about safeguarding the security of the Palestinian people,' she added.

Afkham reiterated that the reactions of the Palestinian resistance groups are definitely in the framework of legitimate defense of the besieged Gaza residents.

'Practical and decisive action of the international society aimed at stopping the pretentious oppressed gesture of the Zionist regime and blocking the path for getting killed more defenseless Palestinian women and children are dire necessities of the day,' she added.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswomen said that the world public opinion expects both the international and the regional organizations to take sides with the human rights organizations and the free minded nations around the globe in their efforts aimed at finding a mechanism for immediate ending of the siege of Gaza and putting an end to the crazy genocide of the Gaza residents.

The racist Zionist regime of Israel launched a Gaza ground campaign after 10 days of most inhumane bombardments from the air and sea failed to stop the brave Palestinian resistance forces rocket attacks, stepping up an offensive that already has taken a heavy toll in civilian lives.

Israel signaled the invasion would be limited in scope - targeting tunnels dug by gunmen - and said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the Gaza Strip's dominant Islamist group.

Explosions lit up the sky in the early hours of Friday and residents in several areas of the densely populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians said they saw small numbers of Israeli tanks that had crossed the border from Israel.

A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office late on Thursday said he had given orders to destroy tunnels that militants use to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks.

An Israeli military spokesman said that the Zionist regime was not out to try to topple Hamas.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded with defiance to Israel's invasion announcement, telling Reuters: 'We warn Netanyahu of the dreadful consequences of such a foolish act.'

Gaza residents and medical officials reported heavy shelling along the eastern border from the southern town of Rafah to the north of the strip.

Orange flashes lit up the eastern Gaza Strip as Israeli gunboats off the Mediterranean coast fired shells and tracer bullets. Israeli artillery pounded the area and helicopters fired across the border, Reuters witnesses said.

Rockets streaked from Gaza toward the southern Israeli towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon. Live television showed interceptions by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and no casualties were reported.

The occupier Zionist regime last mounted a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip during a three-week war in late 2008 and early 2009 that claimed 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

No time frame was announced for the new operation, and the length and intensity of Israel's assaults could depend on the scale of civilian deaths - casualties likely to boost international pressure for a ceasefire.

The current conflict was largely triggered by the killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank last month and the death on July 2 of a Palestinian youth in a suspected revenge murder.

Israel briefly held its fire on Tuesday after Egypt, which is also Gaza's neighbor, announced a truce plan, but Hamas and other militant groups rejected the proposal, saying it had not addressed their demands, but they respected the truce all the same and it was Tel Aviv that breached it.

Several hours after the announcement, two residents of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, said they could see a small number of Israeli tanks inside Palestinian territory.

A witness in northern Gaza said that several tanks had rolled through Israel's Erez border crossing to the Palestinian side but had stopped short of residential areas, and that no clashes had ensued.