Israel says ground offensive under way in Gaza
An Israeli military spokesman said Israel was not out to try to topple the dominant Hamas Islamist group. Such a goal would likely entail a move into densely populated Gaza City, where urban warfare could prove costly to both sides.
No time frame was announced for the new operation, and the length and intensity of Israel’s assaults could depend on the scale of civilian deaths — casualties likely to boost international pressure for a ceasefire.
“We warn Netanyahu of the dreadful consequences of such a foolish act,” Abu Zuhri told Reuters.
Gaza health officials said 235 Palestinians, mostly civilians, had been killed since Israel began the air and sea offensive on July 8 in what it called a response to mounting rocket salvoes into its cities.The warfare has been the worst between Israel and Palestinians in two years.
It said another 18,000 reserve soldiers would be mobilized to join more than 30,000 already called up.
Before dawn, about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunneled under the border, emerging near an Israeli community. At least one was killed when Israeli aircraft bombed the group, the military said.
Israel indicted on Thursday three Israelis suspected of having killed the 16-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem. A lawyer for a legal aid group representing the adult and two minors said they would enter a plea at a later date.
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