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July 17, 2014
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The Israel Defense Forces' official Twitter account confirmed Thursday afternoon that it has launched a "large" force into a ground operation in Gaza.

"A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun," the tweet reads. IDF explained the announcement by saying that the so-called new phase "follows 10 days of Hamas attacks on Israel by land, air, and sea — and repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the situation."

"Our goal is to target Hamas' tunnels that enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks," IDF says. "This requires precise operations."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office issued a statement Thursday afternoon that the assault on Hamas' tunnels will be "limited."

"Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens," the statement said. "The operation will continue until its goals are reached: to bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations' infrastructure in the Gaza Strip."

Update: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel is prepared for "significant expansion" of the ground offensive into Gaza. --Meghan DeMaria

6:55 a.m. ET

Monday night's debut of Full Frontal, Samantha Bee's late-night comedy show on TBS, included a melancholy look at Jeb Bush's sagging presidential campaign. "Is this the end for our nation's dream of a third Bush presidency?" Bee asked, sardonically, after playing that clip of Bush pleading for his small audience to clap for him. To answer that question, Bee said, she had sent her "foreign exchange producer" to New Hampshire to check on in Bush.

What that looks like in practice is an artsy documentary short narrated by somebody affecting a German accent. Bush "should totally be winning but instead is getting his ass handed to him by an oddly tinted compilation of psychiatric symptoms and by a man who seems like he would lecture a starving kitten on personal responsibility and then deport that kitten and his family," the narrator said, referring to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, respectively. Jokes aside, the camera team actually talked with voters, reporters, and, eventually, Bush, creating a gloomy portrait of "a Jeb in winter." Which will be especially funny if Bush takes second in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. You can watch below, but be warned, there is one instance of the f-word and somewhat disturbing imagery of a crocodile eating a turtle. Peter Weber

5:54 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump is widely expected to win the Republican primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday, despite the probable majority of Republicans who want to vote against him. Oddly, a lot of those anti-Trump votes could actually help pad Trump's delegate lead, Domenico Montanaro explains at NPR News. That's because with any candidate who doesn't earn at least 10 percent of the vote, their would-be delegates go to the primary winner. There are eight Republican candidates in the race (not counting Jim Gilmore), and four of them are vying furiously for the "establishment" vote. Not all those "establishment lane" candidates will reach the 10 percent threshold.

To illustrate his point, Montanaro takes a recent average of polls and awards New Hampshire's 20 delegates accordingly. Based on proportional allocation, Trump would earn six delegates (31 percent), Marco Rubio would win three (16 percent), and John Kasich and Ted Cruz would each take two (12 percent). The four remaining candidates would collectively earn 22 percent of the vote, or about four delegates, but because none of them met the 10 percent threshold, those four delegates would go to Trump, raising his delegate count to 10.

The icing on the cake for the anti-Trump establishment, Monatanaro writes, is that those 10 delegates "are bound to vote for Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, because of changes to the Republican National Committee's rules." You can read more about the establishment-voter dilemma at NPR News. Peter Weber

4:41 a.m. ET

Fox News star Bill O'Reilly was on Stephen Colbert's Late Show on Monday night, and Colbert asked him about Tuesday's primary election in New Hampshire. Prompted by Colbert, O'Reilly said that he didn't think Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) killed his presidential campaign with his repetitive debate performance Saturday night. "Anyone can have a bad debate performance," O'Reilly said. "You just don't know." Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will win the Republican and Democratic primaries, he predicted, though things get murky on the GOP side after that.

Colbert asked about the secret to Trump's success, and O'Reilly had some thoughts on the subject. "Trump hit history at the right time, because people are angry," he said "Trump and Sanders are really the same guy, they just change their facial expressions." "I've never seen them in the same room at the same time," Colbert offered. O'Reilly elaborated: "Trump and Sanders are the same guy, because both are tapping into anger, the anger of the voters, who feels they're getting hosed." He said the right doesn't like the open border and ISIS, and then did a terrible Bernie Sanders impression. "I'm sorry, did you just have a stroke right now?" Colbert asked.

O'Reilly tried the same joke after Colbert's superior Sanders impression, then he returned to his theme: "At this time in history, people want an avenger, they don't want a politician. They want somebody who's going to come in and blow the whole system up." That's good and bad, O'Reilly said, because, on the plus side, it gets people involved in politics. "What's bad is that both Trump and Sanders say stuff that's impossible, that could never happen."

After a commercial break, Colbert and O'Reilly politely sparred about Ronald Reagan before returning to Trump and Sanders. "Straight talk is what we need," O'Reilly said. "Which is why Sanders and Trump are doing so well — you don't have to like them, but you know where they stand." O'Reilly said that he, too, is a straight-talker, a problem-solver not an ideologue. "You're not a problem-solver, you're a cable news superhero." Colbert said. "I'll take that as a compliment," O'Reilly laughed. "Sure, why not?" Colbert said, then tipped his hat at his Colbert Report character: "How about you're a great model to do an impression of for 10 years." Watch below. Peter Weber

3:49 a.m. ET

On Tuesday morning, two regional commuter trains in southern Germany collided head-on between the Bavarian towns of Rosenheim and Holzkirchen, killing at least two people and injuring about 100, police spokesman Stefan Sonntag told The Associated Press. "This is the biggest accident we have had in years in this region, and we have many emergency doctors, ambulances, and helicopters on the scene," he added.

One of the engine and some cars are reportedly off the track, and Sonntag said the confusion is so great at the scene that further fatalities are certainly possible.

UPDATE: Police have raised the confirmed death toll to 8 people. Peter Weber

3:12 a.m. ET
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On Monday night, hours before the polls started opening in the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) walked through the Puritan Backroom diner in Manchester, seeking votes. Instead, he got some pretty awkward conversation about homosexuality, The New York Times' Michael Barbaro reports. First, Rubio placed his hand on the shoulder of Timothy Kierstead, 50, seated with his mother and husband. "Why do you want to put me back in the closet?" Kierstead asked. Rubio said he didn't, but that he believes "marriage is between one man and one woman." Rubio patted Kierstead's shoulder, told him, "I respect your view," and walked away. "Typical politician," Kierstead replied loudly. "Walk away."

Elsewhere in the diner, Rubio was asked about former fellow GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) by a 92-year-old woman. "He's a bachelor, right?" the woman asked Rubio, who replied, "He is." The woman followed up: "Is he gay." Rubio chuckled, Barbaro recounts, then answered "No." Peter Weber

2:06 a.m. ET

Monday night was the debut of Daily Show alumna Samantha Bee's new show on TBS, Full Frontal. And as the show's name suggests, Bee isn't dressing up her jokes in pleasantries. In this clip from her inaugural show, Bee takes a whack at the Republican presidential field, which, she said, has "laid out a banquet of all-you-can-eat crazy." Specifically, she mocked Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), starting with Cruz, who was supposed to get a bump from winning the Iowa caucus but didn't.

After playing a cringe-inducing clip of CNN's Dana Bash asking Cruz's wife how she feels about everybody hating her husband, Bee mustered up a little bit of sympathy: "Now look, I dislike Ted Cruz as much as the next everybody, but that's no reason to be rude to Ted's loving wife — and possible hostage." The sympathy did not extend to Cruz, nor to the candidate who "snatched" his Iowa bump, Rubio.

Bee ran through Rubio's meltdown during Saturday night's GOP debate — "He showed up at the debate all but wearing his 'Likely Nominee' crown, and it took Chris Christie 10 seconds to crush him like a bug" — Trump's lack of nouns, and the failure of 43 percent of the candidates to go on stage when their name was called. After pointing out the sad faces of Rubio's kids in the debate audience, Bee ended the segment with a pretty gross, likely NSFW punch line about Rubio and abortion. There is also mildly NSFW language sprinkled throughout, but if none of that bothers you, watch below. Peter Weber

1:43 a.m. ET

On Conan Monday night, after a joke about Cam Newton elicited just a few pity laughs from the audience, Conan O'Brien knew he had to explain himself. Channeling Newton's sullen post-Super Bowl mood, he spent his post-joke press conference being peppered with such hard-hitting questions as "Do you feel like you let down the show?" and "Is there any talk about TBS maybe trading you to another network now?" O'Brien stormed off, but Andy Richter swooped in and made everyone laugh again with — of all things — a Ray Romano joke. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

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