White House reporter Jonathan Karl said the Obama administration appeared "blindsided" by the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza Thursday during a special edition of ABC World News.
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President Obama came into the White House briefing room as recently as Wednesday and said he was working with other world leaders to get a ceasefire, Karl said.
"Just hours before the invasion, a spokesperson for the State Department expressed optimism that the ceasefire would take hold," Karl said. "Now, of course, you have an escalation, not a ceasefire, although it's important to say the White House has said over and over again that Israel does have a right to defend itself."
The ground assault by Israel comes after Hamas, a terrorist group found to have committed war crimes with its targeting of Israeli civilians, violated a temporary ceasefire agreement from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that had been struck so humanitarian workers could deliver aid to those affected by the conflict. The Israeli Defense Forces tweeted Hamas fired three mortars at Eshkol at 12:20 p.m. local time.