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Ground offensive into Gaza begins

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Israeli attack on Gaza

Israeli attack on Gaza

Israel have begun their ground offensive into Gaza by sea, land and air. Power has been cut in Gaza for this operations that has commenced at 10.30pm local time.

Three Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City a few hours after a short humanitarian truce ended Thursday, taking the toll in the coastal enclave to 234.

Health ministry official Ashraf al-Qedra told Xinhua that the three children killed in the airstrike belonged to one family.

The air raid came shortly after Israel and Hamas observed a five-hour humanitarian truce proposed by the United Nations.

Death toll in Gaza climbed to 234 people since Israel started the Operation Protective Edge July 8 in a bid to end rocket fire by Hamas.

Despite the intensive Israeli bombardment, rockets from Gaza are launched on daily basis, reaching more remote key cities in Israel.

Serious international and regional discussions have been held in recent days to reach a ceasefire in Gaza. But no positive results have been achieved yet.

Meanwhile, witnesses and Hamas movement’s news websites reported Thursday that Israeli war jets carried out four successive airstrikes on various targets in the Gaza Strip.

Also Thursday, the Hamas movement denied reports coming from Egypt that a long-term truce was reached between Gaza Strip’s militant groups and Israel during talks held in Cairo earlier in the day.

Earlier Thursday, an Israeli official was cited by the BBC as saying that an agreement would come into effect starting from 6 a.m. Friday, following incessant mediation attempts in Egypt.

However, Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman, refused to confirm or deny the report. Hamas has also denied such an agreement was reached as of Thursday afternoon, the Walla news website reported.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement emailed to reporters that there was nothing new on reaching a permanent ceasefire, adding “all what was published on reaching a ceasefire starting on Friday is untrue”.

Earlier, at least three rockets were launched at the southern Israeli Eshkol regional council area at noon Thursday, two hours into the five-hour the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said.

The three rockets exploded in open territory and no injuries or damage was reported, according to Xinhua.

Prior to the start of the temporary ceasefire, a rocket barrage was fired from Gaza into central Israel. While two rockets were intercepted, another rocket exploded in open territory in the northern central plain. No injuries were reported.

Earlier Thursday, Israeli security forces foiled an infiltration attempt by 13 Palestinian militants attempting to launch an attack by entering Israel through a tunnel which led from the southern Gaza Strip towards the southern Israeli community of Sufa.

Also Thursday morning, before the ceasefire came into effect, the Israeli Air Force continued striking targets in the Gaza Strip.

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