Israel has allowed 443 foreigners to leave the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as it continues its military assault on the territory. Many of those allowed out are spouses and children of Gaza Palestinians. The move could be an indication that Israel is planning an escalation in the fighting.
Those leaving got on buses at dawn and headed for the Erez border crossing. According to the authorities they are US, Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Turkish and Norwegian passport holders. Israeli armed forces remained massed on the Gaza frontier in preparation for a possible ground offensive as international calls for a ceasefire continue to be ignored.