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Report: Israeli incursion into Gaza has already killed 'dozens'

An Israeli soldier rides a tank near the Gaza border
An Israeli soldier rides a tank near the Gaza border
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

About an hour after Israeli ground forces entered Gaza, the first invasion of the Hamas-controlled territory since 2009, there is already one unconfirmed report of "dozens" of new deaths in the fighting.

That's from Israeli reporter Alon Ben-David of Israel's Channel 10, who tweeted in Hebrew that there had been "dozens of deaths" in the first hour of the operation, according to Palestinian sources.

Before today's Israeli incursion began, ten days of fighting between Israel and Gaza-based militants had already killed at least 235 Palestinians and one Israeli. That fighting has consisted of Israeli air strikes into Gaza and Palestinian rockets fired into Israel. Last week, when the death toll was about 130 Palestinians, two different UN agencies estimated that between 70 and 77 percent of those killed were civilians.

Israel's previous invasion of Gaza, in early 2009, was part of two months of brutal fighting that killed 13 Israelis and between about 1,100 and 1,400 Palestinians (counts differ).

It is not yet clear whether this Israeli invasion will go as far or be as sustained as 2009's; Israel says it is aiming just to destroy Hamas-run tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip to Israel and could be used for smuggling and to launch terrorist attacks against Israelis. Still, at any scale, it seems likely that a number of Palestinian civilians will be vulnerable to the violence.