International

Jul 20, 2014 12:13 PM by Associated Press

Battle rages in Gaza City

JERUSALEM (AP) - It's the deadliest day yet of Israel's 3-day-old ground offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli military says 13 soldiers have been killed in fighting with Hamas militants in Gaza. The military says the soldiers were killing during its ground offensive Sunday.

The deaths bring the total Israeli military casualties to 18. Two civilians have been killed by mortar and rocket attacks on Israel. Dozens of soldiers have been wounded.

Palestinian health officials say at least 65 people were killed as Israeli troops backed by tanks and warplanes battled Hamas militants in a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City.

Thousands have fled the city and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Palestinian health officials put the number of displaced at 35,000.

The ground assault followed 10 days of heavy airstrikes on targets linked to Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Israel has said it sent thousands of troops into Gaza to destroy Hamas rocket launchers and tunnels dug by the Islamic militants to sneak into Israel.

Palestinian officials say 425 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since July 8.

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