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Ear to the Ground

Israel Continues Ground Assault, and ‘A Terrifying Night in Gaza’ (Videos)

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Posted on Jul 18, 2014

    An Israeli tank approaches Gaza. Photo by 'Democracy Now!'

As the death toll in Gaza passed 260, Israeli troops and tanks proceeded with their operation in the area Friday after the launch of a military ground operation Thursday night. The initial aim was reported to be the destruction of tunnels dug by Hamas that could be used to launch attacks on Israel.

The Guardian reports:

In a night of sustained bombardment as well as fighting on the ground, Israel suffered its first military casualty of the 11-day war. The dead soldier – named as Eitan Barak, 20 – was possibly killed by so-called friendly fire in the north of Gaza. Two others were injured.

The Palestinian death toll since the start of the conflict passed 274, including at least 28 who were killed overnight, according to health officials in Gaza, with more than 2,000 injured. Israel launched air strikes against more than 100 targets overnight. Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said the number of displaced Gazans had almost doubled in the past 24 hours with more than 40,000 seeking sanctuary with the UN.

Hamas has warned Israel of “dreadful consequences” of the conflict’s escalation. A statement issued by the Palestinian group warned: “We’re with you in the field, and we aren’t afraid of the ground assault.”

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was visiting Turkey on Friday for talks on a ceasefire to halt Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip after meetings on Thursday with the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as well as a senior Hamas official in Cairo.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, “Democracy Now!” spoke with correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, whose new article in The Nation is “Death and Destruction in Gaza as Israel Launches Ground Invasion.”

The program also talked to Basman Alashi, executive director of the only rehabilitation hospital in Gaza, which was shelled by Israel on Thursday. The program stated that “At the time of the attack, the hospital was filled with patients who were paralyzed, unconscious and unable to move.” Alashi said no one was injured but the building was heavily damaged.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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