Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City. 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.
Police officials escort Sampath Vidanapathirana, a ruling party politician, convicted in a murder and rape case at the High Court complex in Colombo. A Sri Lankan court on Friday sentenced Vidanapathirana to 20 years in prison for killing a British tourist Khuram Sheikh and raping his Russian girlfriend more than two years ago.