Israel intensifies attacks on Gaza with night of heavy bombing as ground forces join fighting
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Israel has intensified its attacks on Gaza with ground forces now joining in the fighting, as the death toll from the conflict surpassed 100 people.
Ground forces were involved in today’s attacks, Israel’s military confirmed, however they have not entered Gaza.
Palestinian militants also continued to fire rockets into Israel on the fifth day of the conflict.
At least 119 people have been killed in Gaza and eight in Israel since the fighting began, with 28 children dead.
Air strikes and explosions from Israeli artillery and gunboats lit up the night sky in Gaza City.
What happened in the conflict overnight
Israeli military officials said the attacks were carried out in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels inside the territory.
The bombardment brings the front lines closer to dense civilian areas in Gaza and paves the way for a potential ground invasion.
Israel has massed troops along the border and called up 9,000 reservists following days of fighting with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Palestinians militants have fired some 1,800 rockets and the Israeli military has launched more than 600 air strikes, toppling at least three apartment blocks.
The fighting came as communal violence in Israel erupted for a fourth night, with Jewish and Arab mobs clashing in the flashpoint town of Lod.
The fighting took place despite a bolstered police presence ordered by the nation's leaders.
‘Pregnant woman and four children killed in air strike’
In the northern Gaza Strip, Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and four children were killed after an Israeli warplane reduced the building to rubble, residents said.
Sadallah Tanani, a relative, said the family was "wiped out from the population register" without warning. "It was a massacre. My feelings are indescribable," he said.
Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said tanks stationed near the border fired 50 rounds.
It was part of a large operation that also involved air strikes and was aimed at destroying tunnels beneath Gaza City used by militants to evade surveillance and air strikes, which the military refers to as "the Metro".
"As always, the aim is to strike military targets and to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties," he said.
"Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before we strike high-rise or large buildings inside Gaza, that wasn't feasible this time."
The strikes came after Egyptian mediators rushed to Israel for ceasefire talks that showed no signs of progress.
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