As Israeli forces expanded their Gaza offensive by moving into the central part of the Strip, overnight air strikes killed at least six Palestinians. A mother and four children were among the dead, according to hospital officials. Those injured are said to include Mohammad Deif, the commander of the armed wing of Hamas, who is top of Israel’s most wanted list.
The air attack, aimed at the armed branch of the militant group, brought down a building on the northern edge of Gaza City. Reports said a car was targeted in a separate raid. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed since Israel embarked on its Gaza offensive to recover a captured soldier and stop rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. It comes less than a year after Israeli troops pulled out of the territory.
Israel has rejected calls from the governing Hamas Islamist movement for a ceasefire and talks to end the crisis, triggered by the abduction of teenage corporal Gilad Shalit. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has urged the international community to intervene. President Mahmoud Abbas, back in the West Bank after a visit to Jordan, condemned what he called “Israeli aggression” against the Palestinian people.