Updated 1/3/09 4:30 PM EST
After an initial salvo of artillery fire and increased air strikes earlier this morning, the Israeli military has begun its long-promised invasion of the Gaza Strip. The initial strikes included the destruction of another mosque in the strip, in which at least 10 worshippers were killed and scores were wounded.
As the invasion commences, Israeli planes continued to drop leaflets ordeing the civilians to flee the area. But with both the Israeli border and Egyptian border closed to them, the strip’s 1.5 million residents don’t really have anyplace to go.
The tanks and ground troops poured into the tiny strip, and there are already reports of them engaging in firefights with Hamas gunmen, who claim to have killed a number of Israeli soldiers. The Israeli forces also claim to have killed “dozens” of Hamas gunmen.
The invasion had been expected since the attacks began a week ago, and the military’s press unit has promised “incredible footage” of the ground assault will be made available at some point. Reuters quotes the Israeli military as saying the attack will last “many long days.” Updates will be made as they are available.