The assault on Hamas' infrastructure by the IDF only served to increase rocket and mortar fire, and so, on July 8, the Israeli Government ordered the IDF to launch an intense air offensive attack in the Gaza Strip, targetting Hamas and other terrorist organizations. This was the start of an operation that came to be known as Operation Protective Edge.
After a week of fighting in Gaza, Hamas continued to reject ceasefire initiatives and continued their indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire in addition to attacks within Israel by sea and through several of the cross-border tunnels that Hamas had rebuilt after Cast Lead. As a result, on July 17, the Israeli government ordered ground forces to enter a limited area of the Gaza Strip. The ground troops aimed to destroy the cross-border assault tunnels, which originated from the outskirts of the urban areas of Gaza, and other Hamas infrastructure.
After several weeks of fighting and after the IDF successfully destroyed most illegal border tunnels, on August 5, Israel withdrew all forces from the Gaza Strip. They declared that their mission had been completed, despite ongoing rocket attacks against Israel. A cease-fire agreement was reached on August 26 which called for the end of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israel agreed to loosen restrictions on goods entering Gaza, expand the fishing zone off the coast, and reduce the size of the security forces on the border.
Operation Protective Edge was one of the deadliest outbreaks of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in decades and ended as most do, with a vague ceasefire order and a lot of concessions from an Israeli government that bowed to international pressure. Unfortunately, Hamas leaders showed zero consideration for civilians during the war resulting in the death 2,256 locals. Israel suffered casualties as well, however thanks to its advanced anti-missile systems, the State was able to avoid disaster.