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.

View all 251 updates ›

Israel boosts defenses to counter rocket attacks

Israel has brought an eighth missile interceptor battery into service to counter rocket fire from Gaza, a Defence Ministry official told Israel Radio.

An Iron Dome interceptor rocket takes off. Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

They said: "In the past week we have carried out a very complex technological exercise to deliver the eighth system. We brought together all the components from the production line and within days we made it operational."

He added that a ninth could be made ready within days.

"We try always to be one step ahead of the enemy... and we see that its capabilities exceed our expectations," they said.

More on this story