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 'expanding Gaza operation by land, sea and sky'

ITV News Diplomatic Correspondent John Ray reports from Israel:

Activists and staff refuse to evacuate Gaza hospital

International volunteers and staff have refused to evacuate a hospital in the Gaza Strip in defiance of numerous warnings from Israel.

The building has been hit by a number of Israeli tanks shells, but still the staff and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) remain, refusing to cave in to phone calls from Israel warning that by staying behind they risk behind bombed.

"I would say we are using their racism against [Israel], to protect Palestinian life. So that's what we are doing at the hospital and that's what why we are in Gaza," said 23-year-old ISM member Fred Ekblad.

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Funerals held as more children killed in Israeli airstrikes

The funerals of four Palestinians killed overnight ahead of a ceasefire were held today in the Gazan city of Khan Younis. Among the dead was a woman, 70, and two children aged 4 and 6, all from the same family, Palestinian health officials said.

In the southern city of Rafah, family members arrived to the morgue to identify the bodies of three people killed after an Israeli aircraft bombed a house, medical officials said.

Funeral held for four Palestinian children killed in Israeli airstrike Credit: APTN
Women mourn as funeral held for four Palestinian children killed Credit: APTN

Israeli airstrikes against children 'a terrible mistake'

Mark Regev, chief spokesman of the Israeli Prime Minister told ITV News the airstrikes that killed four children yesterday were a "terrible mistake" and an "operational failure".

Mr Regev said he did not think any Israeli officer would deliberately target children, and that there were legitimate targets nearby.

Speaking to ITV News Presenter Alastair Stewart he said it was still unclear whether a ceasefire could be agreed or held by Hamas, if the past ceasefire brokered by Egypt was anything to go by.

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