Breaking News

Israel expands Gaza ground offensive; no sign of truce

GAZA/JERUSALEM: Israel said today it had expanded its ground offensive in Gaza and militants kept up rocket fire into the Jewish state with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough to end the worst fighting between Israel and Hamas in two years.
Gaza residents said land and naval shellings were the heaviest in 13 days of fighting. Explosions rocked the coastal enclave overnight and shells fired by Israeli naval forces lit up the sky.
Israeli tank shelling killed one Palestinian and hit houses in the northeastern Shejaia district, where residents called radio stations pleading for evacuation.
An Israeli air strike there on the house of senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya killed his son and daughter-in-law and two children, hospital officials said. Near the southern town of Rafah shelling killed four Palestinians, health officials said.
In Israel, sirens sounded in towns near Gaza, warning of approaching
rockets.
Israel sent ground forces into Hamas-dominated Gaza on Thursday after 10 days of heavy air and naval barrages failed to stop rocket fire, some of which reached deep into Israel, from the Palestinian territory.
The military said in a statement today it had sent additional forces into the Palestinian enclave. Israel has vowed to destroy a network of tunnels out of Gaza and hunt down the militants’ stockpiles of
missiles.
Gaza officials said at least 345 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the 13-day conflict. On Israel’s side, five soldiers and two civilians have died.
Diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire involving, among others, Egypt, Qatar, France and the United Nations, have failed to make headway.
Qatar was due to host a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today, a senior Qatari source told Reuters. Ban was due during the week to travel to Kuwait, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan, a UN statement said.
The Qatari source said Abbas was also due to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.
Western-backed Abbas in April struck a deal with Islamist Hamas that led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government, seven years after the group seized control of Gaza from Abbas’s Fatah party.

Check Also

Sri Lanka removed from FATF’s Grey List

PTI Colombo Sri Lanka has been removed from the “Grey List” of the international terror …