Palestinian authorities prepare to repel a potential Israeli ground assault

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Palestinian authorities prepare to repel a potential Israeli ground assault

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he has received information suggesting Israel will launch a ground operation on Gaza soon.

Israel is reportedly mobilising up to 20,000 reservists for the potential strike.

Abbas said Palestinians living in towns on the border with Israel have been warned to leave their homes and move inland.

He called for an end to the assault, contrasting the weakness of Hamas – the group controlling the region and its civilians – to the strength of the Israeli forces.

“We want the unequal violence to stop,” Abbas said. “We launch a rocket and it goes nowhere. And then a war plane comes out and attacks a specific target.”

Palestinian officials say at least 80 people have been killed in the three days since Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’, designed to demobilise the Islamist militant group Hamas.

There are no current reports of Israeli fatalities.

Israel began its offensive in June after rocket fire from Gaza escalated.

Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, hinted that tougher action could be taken on Hamas.

“So far the battle is progressing as planned, but we can expect further stages in the future,” he warned. “Until now, we have hit Hamas and the terror organisations hard and, as the battle continues, we will increase our strikes on them.”

The Israeli army claims more than 440 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip since June 3.

US President Barack Obama is said to have told Netanyahu he is willing to help negotiate a ceasefire.