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Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza

The Israeli military says it has launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The military notified the media of the operation at 10:40 PM on Thursday. This is its first ground operation since 2009.

Since Sunday the Israeli forces have been warning residents living near the border between Gaza and Israel to evacuate.

An NHK reporter in Gaza says fierce attacks appear to be underway in eastern Gaza and big explosions can be heard in western Gaza.

Jul. 17, 2014 - Updated 21:16 UTC