Israel's Government Press Office on Saturday warned foreign journalists it was not responsible for their safety in the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish state has launched an offensive against Palestinian militants.

Israel sent ground forces into Hamas-dominated Gaza on Thursday after heavy air and naval barrages failed to stop rocket fire from the Palestinian territory. Gaza officials said at least 335 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the 12-day conflict.

"Gaza and its vicinity are a battleground. Covering the hostilities exposes journalists to life-threatening danger," an e-mailed Government Press Office (GPO) statement said.

"Israel is not in any way responsible for injury or damage that may occur as a result of field reporting."

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