Tensions on the rise: Israel launches ground operation within the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY (NBC ) – The Israeli military says it had launched a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.

“The IDF’s objective as defined by the Israeli government is to establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continued indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure,” a statement from the Israel Defense Forces read.

Earlier on Thursday, Gaza was pummeled by a series of Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire at the same time a humanitarian truce ended in the region.

The United Nations had requested the pause in hostilities for humanitarian needs.

According to NBC News, the attacks included an airstrike that killed three Palestinian children feeding pigeons on their roof.

Rockets were also fired from Gaza into Israel.

At least 230 people have been killed in Gaza since the attacks began nine days ago.

Fallout continues after four children, between 9 and 11-years-old, died in an Israeli military strike on a Gaza beach.

“We didn’t want to kill those four boys. That was not our intention,” Mark Regev said. “I’d even say the opposite is true. Had we known that that missile was aimed at four young men like that we would have not sent the missile.”

A Hamas official called the killings a “war crime.”

“Those children were not firing rockets, they were just playing,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zhuri told reporters Wednesday.

“I felt as if the world had come to an end when I heard the news,” said Ramiz Bakr, the father of one of the boys, told CNN. “I wish I had died before hearing he was dead.”

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency said it had found 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in Gaza, the first time the agency had made such a discovery.

The group didn’t say who placed the rockets there but condemned the act as a “flagrant violation” of rules meant to keep U.N. aid workers safe.