World | Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:54pm IST

Israel ready for Gaza invasion, prefers diplomatic solution - official

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel is ready for a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip but prefers a diplomatic solution, a senior official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

"We would prefer to see a diplomatic solution that would guarantee the peace for Israel's population in the south. If that is possible, then a ground operation would no longer be required," the official told Reuters. "But if diplomacy fails, we may well have no alternative but to send in ground forces."

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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