Israeli tanks move inside Gaza, as the army steps up its ground offensive. One soldier has been killed and several others wounded in the fighting. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
▲ Hide Transcript
▶ View Transcript
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Israel stepped up its ground offensive in Gaza early on Friday (July 18) pounding targets with artillery fire and using tanks and infantry to battle Hamas fighters.
Palestinian health officials said 23 Palestinians had been killed in the ground offensive, while Israel said one of its soldiers had been killed in fighting.
Israel signalled the invasion would be limited in scope - targeting tunnels dug by gunmen - and said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the Gaza Strip's dominant Islamist group.
Residents in several areas of the densely populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians said they saw small numbers of Israeli tanks that had crossed the border from Israel.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed reports that one soldier had been killed and several wounded in fighting which Israeli media said was concentrated in several areas in the north and south of the territory.
The soldier was Israel's second fatality in the offensive after a rocket attack killed a civilian two days ago. Israeli media said the soldier was killed during an exchange of fire with militants.
In all 251 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the offensive began on July 8.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said on Twitter Israel had killed 14 Palestinian gunmen in "exchanges of fire throughout Gaza" and destroyed 20 rocket launchers.
Hamas's armed wing said in a statement they had detonated three explosives in northern Gaza and "clashes are ongoing". It also said its fighters had repelled Israeli forces trying to enter another Gaza town, Beit Hanoun, wounding seven soldiers.
Israel began the air and sea offensive in what it called a response to mounting rocket salvos, more than 100 a day, fired by Gaza militants into its cities, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis dashing to shelters as far north as the Tel Aviv business hub.
At least 20 more rockets were fired at Israel on Friday, a military spokeswoman said.
Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code