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Ground offensive likely to cross into Gaza

An Israeli ground offensive in Gaza looked likely as troops continued to gather at the border. A...

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An Israeli ground offensive in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Gaza looked likely as troops continued to gather at the border.

A targetted airstrike operation, now into its sixth day, had seen hundreds of Palestinians killed as the Israeli Defence Force continued to bomb Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip.

The attacks were in answer to continuous rocket attacks on <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Israel</country-region> from within the Palestinian-controlled territory.

The latest word on the ground was that troops would move into <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza for an operation that would be relatively short.

Military preparations continued along the border with tanks, troops and armoured personnel vehicles poised to cross into <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza.

If the operation went ahead, it was likely to be a major offensive and Hamas rocket fire on southern Israeli towns was likely to intensify.

Both sides were calling on the other to stop hostilities first before a ceasefire plan could be worked out.