Israel: Airstrikes defend civilians 'from Hamas terrorism'

The Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson wrote on Twitter amid airstrikes on the Gaza Strip:

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#Hamas will not be safe as long as it continues to threaten the lives of #Israeli civilians http://t.co/hIVuAQ62vw

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It comes as President Barack Obama urged Israel and Palestinians to seek a peaceful two-state solution to the conflict, calling for a "viable, independent Palestinian state".

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Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza as air strikes continue

Israel has launched a ground offensive in Gaza with residents reporting heavy shelling in the area. Palestinian health officials say 27 Palestinians, including a baby, two children and a 70-year-old woman, have been killed since Israel sent ground forces into the densely-populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians.