Israel starts Gaza ground offensive


The Israeli military has begun a ground offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, extending its 10-day-old Operation Protective Edge.
It said it was in response to continued militant rocket fire and to strike a "significant blow to Hamas", which controls Gaza.
Hamas said Israel would pay a high price for the ground offensive.
There had been a five-hour humanitarian truce on Thursday, but exchanges of fire resumed when it ended.
Some 230 Palestinians and one Israeli have died during the Operation Protective Edge period.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said: "Following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip."
It said the goal was to "establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas' terror infrastructure".
One Hamas spokesman told Reuters news agency the ground offensive was "foolish" and would have "dreadful consequences".
The Palestinian Maan news agency said an intensive bombardment of Gaza by Israeli planes, artillery and ships was under way.
Media in Gaza have reported seeing Israeli commandos on the beach there.
The BBC's Yolande Knell in Gaza says journalists were warned to take shelter, shortly before the ground offensive announcement was made.