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Truce or escalation: Israel keeps options open

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Truce or escalation: Israel keeps options open

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Israeli bombardments overnight and this morning have concentrated on the east of Gaza city. Residents described the bombing as among the heaviest of the offensive so far. But there were strikes across the Strip, reportedly killing at least three militants and a woman.

Around 650 Palestinians are said to have died in the campaign, which Israel launched to stop Hamas rocket attacks on its territory. Ten Israelis have died in the past 13 days, seven of them soldiers, including four killed by “friendly” fire. In southern Gaza, Israeli tanks advanced closer to the town of Khan Younis. Israeli leaders may be considering a ceasefire but they have indicated preparations are underway for a “third phase” of the campaign, involving troops penetrating deep into urban areas. Yesterday’s three-hour respite in the fighting allowed vital aid to get through, via so-called “humanitarian corridors.” Israel announced the pause after coming under heavy pressure from the international community. It said the gesture would be repeated. Aid groups have described the situation in Gaza as a full-blown humanitarian crisis.