Israel keeps up Gaza assault; diplomats seek ceasefire

Reuters
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Explosions light up the sky in Gaza yet another night.

Clouds of smoke hug the horizon and the now familiar sound of Israeli artillery and tank shelling fills the air.

Israel launched its ground offensive against Hamas militants on Thursday after air and naval barrages failed to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

Homes and work places have been destroyed and people displaced.

But it's the human cost that's hardest hit.

Some 630 Palestinians have died in the fighting. Most of them children and civilians.

On the Israeli side around 30 soldiers and two civilians have been killed.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry are in the region to secure a ceasefire.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BAN KI-MOON, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL, SAYING:

"A ceasefire is essential - but without addressing the deeper issues, we will never solve the problem, we will merely delay it for yet another time. The cycle will continue, except the bitter

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