Israeli PM has instructed military to begin ground offensive in Gaza
Published 17/07/2014 | 21:11
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.
Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling and helicopter fire along the Gaza border.
Israel and Palestinian militants in the densely populated enclave have been fighting a cross border war for the ten days.
The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired more than 1,300 rockets into Israel, and Palestinian health officials say 233 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air and naval strikes. One Israeli civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza.
A statement from the Israeli military said the operation will include "infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support."
Before dawn on Thursday, about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunnelled under the border, emerging near an Israeli community. At least one was killed when Israeli aircraft bombed the group, the military said.