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Israeli soldier, 11 Palestinians killed in Gaza ground offensive


An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014. Photo - Amir Cohen/Reuters

Occupied Jerusalem/Gaza: Israel announced on Friday that a soldier had been killed, its first fatality since a Gaza ground offensive was launched the previous evening, and another two soldiers were wounded.

Eleven Palestinians were killed in Gaza, Palestinian health officials said. There was no immediate breakdown of how many were combatants.

The Israeli military has began its ground offensive against Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip Thursday night, stepping up its 10-day-old military operation.

Troops and tanks were sent into Gaza to deal "a significant blow to Hamas", Israel said.

A Hamas spokesman warned Israel to get ready to "pay a high price" for its actions.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the invasion after days of intensive rocket fire and air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gaza's health ministry said 11 Palestinians had been killed since the ground offensive began on Thursday night.

A five-month-old child was among the dead, Palestinian medics told reporters.

Some 258 Palestinians - three-quarters of them civilians - have died since the start of the wider Israeli operation on 8 July, officials in Gaza say.

An Israeli civilian was killed from mortar fire, and several Israelis have been seriously injured, Israeli medics say.

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