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In pictures: Israeli offensive lights up skies over Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the commencement of a ground offensive in the embattled Palestinian enclave on Thursday

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Flares light the sky over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel. It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

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Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

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Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had given orders to destroy tunnels that militants had dug to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

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In this image made with a long exposure, the sky is lit by flares and explosions in the northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. An Israeli military spokesman said Israel was not out to try to topple the dominant Hamas Islamist group.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

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An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip, July 17, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.

AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

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An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip, July 17, 2014. Israel last mounted a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip during a three-week war in late 2008 and early 2009 that claimed 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

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An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip July 17, 2014. Eastern Gaza was under fire from Israeli gunboats.

AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

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The mother of two boys from the Shaibar family, whom medics said were killed along with a girl from the same extended family by an Israeli air strike after the end of a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, grieves during their funeral outside a hospital morgue in Gaza City July 17, 2014. The Palestinian death toll rose to 229, mostly civilians, according to Gaza health officials. In Israel, one civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza, where the Israeli military says more than 1,300 rockets have been launched into the Jewish state.

MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS

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