Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants
Gaza - XINHUA
Fierce clashes erupted early Friday between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians militants near the border line between Israel and Gaza, Islamic Hamas movement said.
Clashes are taking place in Biet Hanoun and Biet Lahiya towns in the northern Gaza Strip, a military source in Hamas told Xinhua.
Witnesses said shots of machine guns can be heard in the eastern parts of the towns adding that Israeli troops have fired dozens of projectiles at Palestinian militants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered on Thursday a ground operatiin the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after 11 days of airstrikes to end rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
Netanyahu's decision came after Egyptian and international efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza have failed.
Hamas warned that Israel would pay a heavy price for commencing a ground offensive on Gaza.
On July 8, Israel started an all-out aerial operation dubbed "Protective Edge" to stop rocket fire from Gaza.
The operation has so far killed 246 Palestinians and injured more than 1,850 others.