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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he takes the stand before delivering joint statements with Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini (not pictured) during their meeting in Jerusalem July 16, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/JIM HOLLANDER/POOL

Israeli PM orders ground offensive in Gaza: official statement

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.

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Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling and helicopter fire along the Gaza border.

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