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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.

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Hague calls for Gaza ceasefire

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for an immediate de-escalation of the violence between Israel and the Palestinians and called for a restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire.

William Hague has called a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. Credit: Daniel Naupold/DPA/Press Association Images

He said: "I spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today."

He added: "I stressed the need for an immediate de-escalation and restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire, our deep concern about the number of civilian casualties and the need for all sides to avoid further civilian injuries and the loss of innocent life."

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