Israel Mines for Hamas Tunnels amid Calls for Ceasefire

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TEL AVIV, Israel -- The U.N. Security Council voted late Sunday night for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, while U.S. President Barack Obama is pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the fighting.

As diplomatic efforts go on, Israeli combat engineers continue to discover and destroy Hamas' vast network of terror tunnels.

Israel sees these tunnels as an enormous threat to its population.

One tunnel started from underneath the Wafa Hospital in Gaza and several came from the neighborhood of Sajaeeya inside Gaza, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting.

In the past two weeks, Hamas terrorists made several infiltrations into Israel using terror tunnels.

Also, Israel announced Hamas prisoners warned of a mega terror event planned for the Jewish New Year. About 200 Hamas terrorists are planning to kill and kidnap hundreds of Israelis along the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, Hamas says the death toll from the Israeli-Gaza conflict has climbed to more than 1,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

But Netanyahu laid the blame on Hamas for those deaths.

"Hamas is responsible for these civilian deaths," Netanyahu told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "Hamas is not only trying to kill our people it is sacrificing its own people quite wilfully, deliberately, cynically and horribly. They are using their people as human shields."

So far more than 40 Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting and dozens more have been wounded.

Some of the injured soldiers are being treated at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. They brought firsthand stories from the frontlines of the intensive fighting and how Hamas is using women and children as human shields.

"My friends said a terrorist hid behind a little girl and shot at them," one soldier told CBN News. "And they couldn't fire back because they didn't want to kill the little girl. They waited until one of the group succeeded to kill him. They shot him in the head." 

Other soldiers faced terrorists using women as human shields.

"They hesitated and the hesitation cost some of the soldiers their life," Dr. Zeev Rotstein, CEO of Sheba Medical Center, told CBN News. "And some of the soldiers got injured because they were surprised to see women and behind them came terrorists with the machine gun and they started to fire." 

It remains to be seen how far the war will go on, but Israel would like to see the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip as one of the lasting goals of Operation Protective Edge.

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Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Bureau

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