(The Guardian) Israeli ground and air forces have attacked targets in Gaza, forcing residents to flee their homes, in a significant escalation in the worst bout of fighting for seven years.
Heavy artillery fire was aimed at what the Israeli military said was a large network of militant tunnels. The intense overnight bombardment came amid speculation that Israeli troops were preparing to enter Gaza on the ground.
Red flames illuminated the skies above Gaza in the early hours of Friday as the deafening blasts from the outskirts of Gaza City, which lies about a mile from the frontier, jolted people awake as their apartment blocks shook.
Palestinians living in areas close to the Gaza-Israel border fled their homes in pickup trucks, on donkeys and by foot. Some went to UN-run schools in Gaza City, carrying small children, household essentials and food.
Hedaia Maarouf, who left her home with her extended family of 19 people, including 13 children, said: “We were terrified for our children, who were screaming and shaking.”