Blasts of heavy machine-gun fire and explosions from airstrikes filled the air in Gaza early Sunday morning, hours after Israel rolled thousands of troops into the Palestinian territory.
At least four Palestinians have been killed as a direct result of the ground assault, Palestinian medical sources said, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 460 since the conflict erupted December 27.
The ground assault followed a weeklong campaign of airstrikes in what Israel says is an offensive to halt rocket attacks from Hamas militants in Gaza.
"We want to create a situation where the civilian population in southern Israel is no longer on the receiving end of those deadly Hamas rockets," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN.
"We haven't articulated regime change as the goal of this operation. Our goal is to protect our people," Regev said. Read full article »