POSTED: Saturday, January 3, 2009 - 11:37pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:00am
GAZA - Israeli tanks and troops moved into gaza after sundown saturday launching the next phase the offensive against hamas militants.
The Israeli Military said the ground portion of the offensive will be a lengthy operation.
There are reports of heavy gun battles and artillery was heard east of Gaza City where hamas fighters are deployed.
Defense officials say about ten thousand soldiers had massed along the border before the troops began to move in.
It is not immediately clear how far into Gaza the Israeli forces will go.
The Israelis began the offensive one week ago to stop militant rocket fire aimed at southern israel.
The first week of fighting claimed more than 460 Palestinian lives, only four Israelis were killed.