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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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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.

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