The Israeli military destroys el-Wafa hospital in the Gaza Strip, Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller hears, as he witnesses another strike on a 4-storey block elsewhere in Gaza.

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Israel stepped up its ground offensive in Gaza early on Friday  pounding targets with artillery fire and using tanks and infantry to  battle Hamas fighters. The attack came only hours after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed Ukraine.

Palestinian health officials said 24 Palestinians had been killed in the ground offensive, while Israel said one of its soldiers had been killed in fighting. From the Israeli-Gaza border, thick plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the Gaza City skyline.

Israel signalled the invasion would be limited in scope - targeting tunnels dug by gunmen - and said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the Gaza Strip's dominant Islamist group.

Residents in several areas of the densely populated strip of 1.8m Palestinians said they saw small numbers of Israelis.

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