At least 79 Palestinian were killed in Gaza Thursday, local sources reported, bringing Gaza death toll to 1,437 as of Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, a senior IDF commander claimed that the Hamas had planned the operation well in advance, and claims the IDF has set Hamas' tunnels to their state five years ago.
In Gaza, eleven Palestinians from the same family were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the central Gaza Strip's Nusseirat refugee camp, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
IAF attack Gaza Strip (Photo: AP)
He said that three more were killed in night-time strikes in the south of the strip, while a body was recovered from rubble in the town of Khan Yunis. According to a Ynet count, the event brings the Palestinian death toll to 1,437.
Home destroyed by IDF attack in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
The IDF said more than 90 rockets were fired from Gaza, some deep into Israel. One person was moderately wounded by a Gaza projectile that struck in the southern town of Kiryat Gat. At least five Israelis were wounded, one critically, by a mortar, Barzilai hospital officials said.
Hamas said it had fired one rocket at Israel's commercial hub Tel Aviv, which Iron Dome intercepted.
Forces on Gaza border (Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, a senior IDF officer well acquainted with the Gaza area said that Hamas has been preparing for months for what it dubbed the "July war". According to the official, Hamas planned a number of attacks, including infltrations and attacks on army bases, as well as rocket onslaughts.
According to the officer, the IDF has hit close to 80% of Gaza's tunnels and is striving to hit the 90 percent mark before they feel the conflcit has ended.
The officer also commented on looming ceasefire attempts, and said he hopes any deal reached will allow the army to remain in Gaza to continue its mission of destroying tunnels.
Tunnels have been at the heart of Israel's Gaza offensive, and are currently one of the central stumbling blocks to a ceasefire, with Israel demanding forces remain in Gaza to take out the tunnel system which threatens Israel's southern communities and army bases.
"I hope that as part of a ceasefire agreement Israel will be allowed to keep a safety perimeter which will allow the IDF the freedom they need to continue to work," the officer said.
As the extent of the tunnel warren and the lethal threat it poses became known, accusations were leveled against the government and military, which warned about the phenomenon years ago but apparently did not prepare adequate counter-measures.
"We in the army have been warning about the tunnels for a long time, but there was little attentiveness from either the public or military leader," added the senior officer.
However, he said that the current operation has dealt the tunnels a serious blow, and claims the IDF has sent Hamas five years back in terms of tunnel development.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report