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Israel launches Ground Offensive Against Gaza

17/07/2014 21:19 BST | Updated 18/07/2014 04:59 BST

Israel has launched a ground offensive against Gaza. Publishing a statement on Thursday, a statement by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said, "Following ten days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip". The objective of the operation is to strike a "significant blow to Hamas' terror infrastructure".

The statement added: "The prime minister and defence minister have instructed the IDF to begin a ground operation tonight in order to hit the terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel." The operation will include "infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support".

Israel and militants within the Gaza strip have been exchanging fire for ten days, leading to the deaths of 233 Palestinians from air force and naval fire. One Israeli has been killed by rockets from Gaza. According to the IDF, Hamas militants have fired more than 1,300 rockets into the Israeli heartland.

On Wednesday, four Palestinian children were killed in Gaza when Israeli shelling struck a group playing football on a beach. The attack was witnessed by scores of foreign journalists, many who rushed to help the children that survived the attack.

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Ground Offensive Against Gaza