Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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GAZA STRIP: The ground war begins

January 3, 2009 |  1:02 pm

Israeli tanks and troops began moving into the Gaza Strip under cover of darkness around 9 p.m. local time -- 11 a.m. Pacific.

Reliable information from on the ground in Gaza is almost impossible to come by right now, but there are unconfirmed reports of fierce clashes between Israeli soldiers and Gazan militant fighters.

Our special correspondent Rushdi Abu Alouf reports that the Israelis have punched in from two directions, in the north near the Eretz border crossing and in central Gaza near the Jabalia refugee camp.

Here's a high-quality map of the Gaza Strip indicating Israeli airstrike targets through Dec. 31, courtesy of our friends at the Arabist. And here's a link to the latest Los Angeles Times report.

-- Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.