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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli shelling killed at least 20 Palestinians in a Gaza neighborhood on Sunday, and thousands of residents fled for their lives, local health officials and witnesses said. Gaza's Shifa hospital was filled with dozens of wounded from the attack on the eastern Shijaiyah neighborhood, about two miles away.
Israel also said Sunday it had expanded its ground offensive in Gaza and militants kept up rocket fire into the Jewish state with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough to end the worst fighting between Israel and Hamas in two years. Gaza residents said land and naval shellings were the heaviest in 13 days of fighting. Israel sent ground forces into Hamas-dominated Gaza on Thursday after 10 days of heavy air and naval barrages failed to stop rocket fire, some of which reached deep into Israel, from the Palestinian territory. Israel has vowed to destroy a network of tunnels out of Gaza and hunt down the militants' stockpiles of arms. Gaza officials said at least 345 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the 13-day conflict. On Israel's side, five soldiers and two civilians have died.
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