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Israel expands ground operation in Gaza

Will country try to crush Hamas?

  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel. It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel. It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Smoke rises behind a mosque's minarets after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Smoke rises behind a mosque's minarets after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

    An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

  • Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

    Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

  • Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

    Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

  • An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

    An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

    An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

    Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, early Friday, July 18, 2014. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try to destroy Hamas' rocket-firing abilities and the tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel launched a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday, escalating a 10-day military operation to try to destroy Hamas' weapons arsenal, rocket firing abilities and tunnels under the Palestinian territory's border with Israel. It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Palestinian mourners gather around the bodies of three siblings of the Abu Musallam family, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ismail Abu Musallam, the father of the children said that Ahmed, 11, Walaa, 14 and Mohammed,16, were sleeping when the shell struck the family home, and that he had to dig them out of the rubble. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • A Palestinian man stands in the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israel intensified its 11-day campaign against Hamas by sending in tanks and troops late Thursday after becoming increasingly exasperated with unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza on its cities, especially following Hamas' rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire plan earlier in the week.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Smoke rises behind a mosque's minarets after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building to pick up their usable belongings after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • A Palestinian man burns a tire during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • An Israeli border policeman aims his weapon during clashes with Palestinians following a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave’s Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
  • Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
  • Protesters chant slogans against Israel to condemn its bombing on Gaza and to demand Hamas and other Palestinian brigades in Gaza reject any truce with Israel, during a protest by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, Jordan, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Arabic writing reads, "The Arab regimes are Zionists." Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
  • An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
  • An Israeli soldier walks with a prayer shawl near the border of Israel and Gaza, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Israel launched the operation late Thursday, following a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 air strikes against Gaza that had failed to halt relentless Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • Palestinians salvage their usable belongings from the rubble of their homes in an apartment building after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza yesterday in a ground offensive that officials said could last up to two weeks as the prime minister ordered the military to prepare for a “significantly” wider campaign.

The assault raised risks of a bloodier conflict amid escalating Palestinian civilian casualties and the first Israeli military death – and brought questions of how far Israel will go to cripple Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Officially, the goal remains to destroy a network of tunnels militants use to infiltrate Israel and attack civilians. In its first day on the ground in Gaza, the military said it took up positions beyond the border, encountered little resistance from Hamas fighters and made steady progress in destroying the tunnels. Military officials said the quick work means that within a day or two, Israeli leaders may already have to decide whether to expand the operation.

With calls from Israeli hard-liners to completely crush Hamas, it remains unclear how far Israel will go in an operation that has already seen 299 Palestinians killed in 11 days of intense Israeli bombardment of the densely populated coastal strip, a fifth of them children.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the military to prepare for a “significant expansion” of the ground offensive.

“It is not possible to deal with tunnels only from the air. It needs to be done also from the ground,” he told a special Cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv. “We chose to begin this operation after the other options were exhausted and with the understanding that without the operation, the price we will pay can be very high.”

Frustrated by Hamas’s refusal to accept an Egyptian-brokered truce agreement and the failure of a 10-day campaign of more than 2,000 airstrikes to halt relentless rocket fire on Israeli cities, Israel launched a ground offensive it had previously been reticent to undertake to further weaken Hamas militarily.

“It won’t end that quickly,” said Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israel’s minister of public security. “Anything can happen. If we need to keep going, we will keep going. We won’t stop. We need quiet for the citizens of the south and the citizens of Israel.”

In a fresh effort to broker a truce, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon was to leave today for the Middle East to help mediate the Gaza conflict, U.N. officials said. A cease-fire is “indispensable” for urgently needed humanitarian efforts to succeed, the under-secretary-general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman told an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

The Israeli military said it had killed nearly 20 militants in exchanges of fire since the ground offensive started Thursday night.

Gaza health officials said more than 50 Palestinians have been killed since then, including three young siblings from the Abu Musallam family who were killed when a tank shell hit their home.

At the morgue, 11-year-old Ahmed’s face was blackened by soot, and he and his 14-year-old sister, Walaa, and 16-year-old brother, Mohammed, were wrapped in white burial shrouds. Their father, Ismail, said the three were sleeping when the shell struck and he had to dig them out from under the rubble.

Israel says it is going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and blames them on Hamas, accusing it of firing from within residential neighborhoods and using its civilians as “human shields.” On Thursday, the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, said a routine check in one of its vacant Gaza schools found about 20 hidden rockets and called on militants to respect the “sanctity and integrity” of U.N. property.

Critics say it is the intense fire itself in such a densely populated area that leads to the deaths of innocent civilians. The U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, said at least 59 — or one in five — of the Palestinians killed children were under the age of 18. UNRWA said 40,000 Palestinians were seeking refuge in 34 of its shelters throughout the Gaza Strip.

Most countries have expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself, while urging it to minimize civilian deaths in its ground assault. President Barack Obama spoke with Netanyahu Friday and expressed his concern “about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.”

The operation also brought Israel its first military casualty. The circumstances behind the death of Staff Sgt. Eitan Barak, 20, were not made clear: Hamas’s military wing said it ambushed Israeli units in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. A military spokesman said Barak was likely killed by friendly fire from a tank but it was not confirmed yet. The army said a number of soldiers were also wounded. Earlier in the week, an Israeli civilian died from Palestinian mortar fire and several others have been wounded.

“The ground offensive does not scare us and we pledge to drown the occupation army in Gaza mud,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

Israeli public opinion strongly supports the offensive after days of unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza and years of southern Israeli residents living under the threat. Gaza militants have fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel over the past 11 days, and rocket fire continued across Israel Friday.

The order to launch the ground operation was triggered not by the rocket fire, but by a Hamas attempt to infiltrate Israel on Thursday, when 13 armed militants sneaked through a tunnel from Gaza and were killed by an airstrike as they emerged inside Israel.

The military, which has already mobilized more than 50,000 reservists, said paratroopers had uncovered eight tunnel access points across the Gaza Strip and engaged in several gun battles with Hamas militants who ambushed them.

Israeli forces are expected to spend a day or two staking ground within two miles (three kilometers) of the border in the north, east and south of the Gaza Strip. Then, they are expected to begin destroying tunnels, an operation that could take up to two weeks. Tanks, infantry and engineering forces were operating inside Gaza, where the military said it targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other targets.

Hamas has survived Israeli offensives in the past, including a major three-week ground operation in January 2009 and another weeklong air offensive in 2012, but in each case the militant group recovered. It now controls an arsenal of thousands of rockets, some long range and powerful, and it has built a system of underground bunkers.

But Hamas is weaker than it was during the previous two offensives, with little international or even regional support from its main allies, Turkey and Qatar. Protests against the offensive took place Friday in Turkey, Jordan and the West Bank.

Egypt, which has been pushing for a cease-fire, is at odds with Hamas’ conditions, which include a lifting of the siege of Gaza and completely open borders into the Sinai — where Egypt is already fighting Islamic extremists.

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Heller reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Ian Deitch and Tia Goldenberg and Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem, Karin Laub in Gaza City and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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