Israel has rejected international proposals for a 48-hour ceasefire in Gaza to let in more humanitarian aid. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said conditions were not right but he may re-consider in the future.
Parts of the Gaza Strip have been all but destroyed, with virtually all the Hamas government buildings bombed by Israeli warplanes. There have been at least six air strikes today but as this is fewer than in recent days, some residents have ventured out to gather supplies. Gaza officials say the Palestinian death toll stands at nearly 400, with at least a quarter of those killed civilians, according to a UN agency. Around 1,650 Palestinians have been wounded. Three Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed by Palestinian rockets. Israeli anger is likely to be stoked by the widening of attacks to include Beersheba, 40 kilometres away from the border with Gaza. Preparations for a ground offensive continued at the Gaza frontier with a further 2,500 reservists called up. Rain is likely to delay any invasion but forecasters predict clear skies from Thursday.