A Palestinian woman (L) cries inside her damaged house, which police said was targeted in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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Israeli forces Thursday launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to target the "infrastructure" of Hamas but not topple the Palestinian Islamist movement.The move came after 10 days of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, in which Israel hit more than 2,000 targets in Gaza and Hamas launched nearly 1,500 rockets at Israel, as the Palestinian death toll topped 230 . Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said he instructed the army to go ahead after Hamas rejected an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week and after Hamas fighters tried to infiltrate into Israel through a tunnel from Gaza earlier in the day.Israeli leaders had earlier played down prospects of a permanent Gaza cease-fire and fighting returned to a familiar pattern of Palestinian rocket salvoes and Israeli bombing after a five-hour humanitarian truce.Israeli jets bombed a house in Gaza City, killing three children, and another two youngsters died in separate attacks, said Ashraf Qidra, spokesman of Gaza's Health Ministry.One Israeli civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza.
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