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Israel begins ground offensive in Gaza

Israel begins ground offensive in Gaza
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Israel has launched a ground offensive in Gaza according to an official statement released from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The statement said that the Israeli Defense Forces had been instructed “to begin a ground operation in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel.”

Heavy bombing from aircraft, artillery and warships along the Gaza border has been reported. There has also been a large scale power-cut in the enclave.

Earlier, fighting recommenced at the end of a five hour humanitarian ceasefire by Israel.

At least three children died when their home was bombed by Israeli aircraft in Gaza City. The total number of Palestinians killed in the conflict is reported to be around 233.

At least one Israeli citizen has also been killed.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning, the Israeli army said around a dozen Palestinian fighters tunneled their way under the border and emerged near an Israeli community. At least one of the group was killed when they were bombed by military aircraft.

The Israeli army also reported that Tel Aviv and the southern cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba were the target for rockets launched from Gaza. There were no casualties or damage.

The Israeli security cabinet is set to meet on Friday.

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will visit Egypt, Jordan and Israel from Friday to Sunday in a bid to help defuse the situation and will discuss a European mission on the Gaza-Israel border.

Fabius has a packed schedule: he is set to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the US Secretary of State John Kerry separately in Cairo. He will also hold talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Jordanian foreign minister and head of the royal court. On Sunday he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.