Latest reports coming out of Gaza City say Israeli tanks shells have exploded in the middle of a shopping area. Palestinian medics say at least five civilians are dead, and scores more wounded. And at least 12 Palestinians – most of them civilians – have been killed by Israeli tank shells at Beit Lahiya in the north of the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian medical staff and witnesses.
Israeli armoured columns moved into the Gaza Strip in several waves. The main push was from the northeast, aimed at stopping Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel. With fierce exchanges reported around Gaza City, the Strip is virtually split in half. Hamas claims to have killed five Israeli soldiers, and reports on Gaza radio and TV said two Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped – reports which have yet to be official confirmed by either side. Both sides have sustained casualties. Israel said 30 of its troops were injured overnight. In all, the Palestinian death toll is approaching 500, with more than 2,300 wounded.