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Israel Launches Gaza Ground Offensive

The Israeli government last night put 'boots on the ground' in Gaza despite earlier hopes of an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

Israeli troops have entered Gaza, following direct orders from PM Benjamin Netanyahu to launch a brutal ground offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The move comes despite earlier talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in Cairo. The meetings were aimed at disscussing the possibility of halting the dispute, which has left more than 200 Palestinians dead.

The move comes just hours after Israeli shelling murdered four unarmed Palestinian children playing football on the beach. Last night the UN stepped in, asking both sides to take part in a five hour temporary ceasefire designed to allow aid into the Gaza Strip. The two sides agreed to halt attacks from 10:00 to 15:00 local time to allow Gazans to receive supplies.

However, Israeli military chiefs have threatened to continue attacks if they come under Hamas rocket fire during the ceasefire period. One Israeli civilian died as a result of a Hamas rocket, and more than 200 Palestinians have died during Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8th.

An Egyptian aid convoy is set to arrive in Gaza on Saturday. The mercy mission by the  Popular Campaign to Support the Palestinian People is expected to deliver much needed medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Hamas last night put forward the conditions required for a long-term ceasefire. The requirements including ending the Gaza siege, allowing Gazan's access to a maritime corridor and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Last night Egyptian activists implored the government to permanently open the Rafah crossing, allowing wounded Palestinians access to medical care in Egypt.

Egypt Freedom Party leader Amr Hamzawy said the country's main priority should be the immediate and unconditional opening of the crossing, which Egypt has so far restricted to emergency cases only. He added: "The rulers of Egypt must open the crossing, which has exposed Palestinians in Gaza to a slow death, other than the fast death they’re going through at the hands of Israel."