January 3, 2009
Posted: 02:16 PM ET
JERUSALEM (CNN) - Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza on Saturday night as the military launched the second phase of its assault on the Hamas-ruled territory after a week of airstrikes.
"We want to create a situation where the civilian population in southern Israel is no longer on the receiving end of those deadly Hamas rockets. When quiet can be achieved, this operation can be finished," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN.
The goal of Operation Cast Lead is to halt what Israeli officials describe as a near-constant barrage of Hamas rockets into the southern part of the country from Gaza.
"We haven't articulated regime change as the goal of this operation. Our goal is to protect our people," Regev said.
Israeli officials say four people have been killed and 59 wounded in Hamas rocket attacks in the past week. Palestinian medical sources said Saturday that at least 460 people have been killed and 2,750 wounded in Gaza.
As night fell on the eighth day of the bloody conflict, both sides remained defiant, vowing to stand their ground and accusing the other of breaking a cease-fire that had been in place until last month.
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