GAZA WAR UPDATE, Day #11: As IDF ground forces advance, one goal is to identify & destroy Hamas tunnels. Here’s the latest. Updated at 11:30am eastern Friday.

Explosion in Gaza as ground operations began Thursday night.

Explosion in Gaza as ground operations began Thursday night.

Hamas is storing rocket launchers, rockets and weapons in tunnels under Gaza. They're also digging tunnels under Israel for terrorists to use to enter Israeli villages.

Hamas is storing rocket launchers, rockets and weapons in tunnels under Gaza. They’re also digging tunnels under Israel for terrorists to use to enter Israeli villages.

UPDATED AT 11:30am EASTERN, FRIDAY: (Washington, D.C.) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Friday his government’s intention to expand the scope of the IDF ground campaign in Gaza.

The top priority is not so much to topple Hamas but to restore calm. To do that, Netanyahu says, one vital thing Israel must do is identify and destroy the labyrinth of tunnels and underground warehouses that Hamas and other terror groups are using to store rockets, launchers and other weapons under Gaza, as well as the tunnels Hamas is digging under Israel.

“We decided to launch the action after we tried all the other ways, and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher,” Netanyahu told reporters.

Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of an emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, said that “since there is no way to deal with the tunnels only from the air, our soldiers are doing it now from the ground,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

“The supreme consideration guiding us is to restore security to the civilians and quiet to the state. There is not a more moral army than the IDF, and we do not want to harm even one innocent civilian. Not even one. We are operating only against terror targets.”

On Thursday, just before the ground war commenced, Israeli forces spotted a group of heavily-armed Hamas terrorists emerging out of a tunnel into Israeli territory, heading towards and Israeli village. IDF forces fired on the terrorists and prevented a major disaster that surely would have ensued if the terrorist had reached their destination.

 Please pray this will all end quickly. Please pray for calm to be restored. And please pray for mercy for Israelis and Palestinians. It is so painful to see the suffering and trauma on both sides. The Bible commands us to pray for peace — let us be faithful.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WAR:

REACTIONS FROM LEADERS IN THE REGION

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