Israel battles from the ground

Israel launched a ground offensive on Saturday night engaging Gaza in a fierce battle.The United States...

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<?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on">Israel</country-region> launched a ground offensive on Saturday night engaging <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza in a fierce battle.

The <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">United States</country-region> has halted approval of a United Nations Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire.

The <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">US</country-region> Deputy Ambassador said they saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by a call for an immediate end to the violence.

The <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">United Kingdom</country-region> Ambassador to the UN, Sir John Sawers commented that his government was working to impede the violence.

Sawers said, “There is clearly fierce fighting going on. This is the north of <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza where the main battle field seems to be underway. It is also reported that 100 Israeli tanks were south of <place w:st="on"><placename w:st="on">Gaza<placetype w:st="on">City.” <?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Meanwhile, European ministers were heading to the Middle East in an effort to secure a truce in the <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza region.

They were expected to meet the Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Jerusalem.

Elena Qleieo works for Oxfam in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza, she said that store shelves were empty and they had no electricity.

“Where are they going to go? There’s no way. It’s a very crowed area, It’s winter, it’s cold so unless they go and stand in the centre square there is no place to go to be a butchery,” Qleieo said.

In <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">London on Saturday, 10 people were arrested outside the Israeli Embassy after more than 10 000 people attended a rally.

Some protesters burned Israeli flags and hurled bottles at police.

The Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor said the anti-Israel protests around the world were unjustified.

“Those demonstrations were not there when for previous three years, 8 000 missiles fell on Israeli citizens day in and day out, and basically Hamas is toxic,” said Prosor