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Palestinian death toll rises with Israeli ground assault

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More than 30 Palestinians and one Israeli killed

More than 30 Palestinians, including a five-month-old baby, have been killed since the Israeli military, backed by tanks and warplanes, pressed up its ground offensive on Friday morning, according to Palestinian medics.

This raises the death toll in Gaza to over 260 since Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge, 11 days ago. At least 74% of the victims are civilians and many are children, according to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

One Israeli soldier was killed in fights between the Israeli military and the Al-Qassam Brigades, according to Al-Qassam. This marks the second Israeli fatality since the start of the operation.

Three more children were killed in a shelling targeting a home in northern Gaza, Palestinian News Agency Ma’am reported.

A UN official told AFP that there are around 30,000 Palestinians sheltering in United Nations facilities as they fled the Israeli bombardment.

Khalid Mashaal, head of the political bureau of Hamas, said Friday that Israel’s ground operation in Gaza was destined to fail, AFP reported.

“What the occupier Israel failed to achieve through its air and sea raids, it will not be able to achieve with a ground offensive. It is bound to fail,” Mashaal said.

Avichay Adrae, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson for Arab media said: “The ground operation seeks to destroy the many offensive tunnels that Hamas has built around the border,” as well as destroy other “terrorist infrastructure”.

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