Israel news – live: IDF launches ground and air assault on Gaza, rocking enclave with explosions

·1 min read
An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in Gaza on Thursday night  (AFP via Getty Images)
An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in Gaza on Thursday night (AFP via Getty Images)

Israel rocked Gaza with artillery fire in the early hours of Friday, adding to air strikes while militant rockets flew in the other direction.

Explosions echoed across northern and eastern parts of Gaza and many families living near the border fled their homes.

It came as the country was poised to approve plans for a ground assault into Gaza, with the IDF drawing up proposals for sign-off by political leaders.

IDF combat troops have moved into position near Gaza as part of “preparing themselves for ground operations”, an army spokesperson told The Independent.

Earlier, at least three rockets were fired from Lebanon towards Israel and the US withdrew approximately 120 military and civilian personnel from Israel as the security situation worsened.

Militants have fired some 1,600 rockets towards Israel from Gaza in the last few days, according to the IDF. That is one-third the total fired in the 50-day-long war in 2014, a barrage James Cleverly, the UK’s Middle East minister, called “unprecedented”.

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