Israel mobilises thousands more reserve troops

Israeli reserve soldiers in an army deployment zone near the Gaza border (Photo: Flash90/Gili Yaari)

Israeli reserve soldiers in an army deployment zone near the Gaza border (Photo: Flash90/Gili Yaari)

Israel has called up another 16,000 reserve soldiers to boost its ongoing campaign to destroy Hamas’ tunnel network in Gaza.

This latest call-up brings the number of IDF troops involved in Operation Protective Edge to 86,000.

In an interview with Israel Radio, IDF Southern Command General Sami Turjeman said rapid progress was being made.

“We have killed scores of Hamas’s best fighters,” he said. “With every day that passes we are getting closer to our goal of destroying the tunnels.

General Turjeman claimed that it was only a matter of days before the army completely destroys Hamas’s network of cross-border tunnels.

An Israeli diplomat, speaking anonymously, told the JC that he was surprised the international reaction to Israel’s military operations in Gaza had been so mild compared to previous conflicts.

But on Wednesday the US issued an unusually harsh condemnation of the Israeli shelling of the UN school near the Jabaliya refugee camp which killed at least 16 Palestinians.

There are fears, however, that America has lost yet more credibility in the region. Hours after the statement, the US authorised Israel to access a local US arms depot to replenish Israeli ammunition stocks which were apparently running low.

Attempts to secure a complete ceasefire by the US, the international community and regional powers such as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan, have so far failed.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that Israel will soon draft its own UN Security Council resolution outlining its plan on how to end the conflict.

Last updated: 1:00pm, July 31 2014