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Battle Rages in Gaza City

gazaGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — It’s the deadliest day yet of Israel’s 3-day-old ground offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian health officials say at least 65 people were killed as Israeli troops backed by tanks and warplanes battled Hamas militants in a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City.

Thousands have fled the city and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Palestinian health officials put the number of displaced at 35,000.

The ground assault followed 10 days of heavy airstrikes on targets linked to Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Israel has said it sent thousands of troops into Gaza to destroy Hamas rocket launchers and tunnels dug by the Islamic militants to sneak into Israel.

Palestinian officials say 425 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since July 8.

The Israeli military says 13 soldiers have been killed while fighting with Hamas militants.

The deaths bring the total Israeli military casualties to 18. Two civilians have been killed by mortar and rocket attacks on Israel. Dozens of soldiers have been wounded.

At least 425 Palestinians have been killed in the near two-week conflict that shows no signs of stopping.


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