Reports from Israel say the commander of the military assault on Gaza has demanded the green light for stepping up the bombardment.
General Yoav Galant is said to have asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barack to give him the go-ahead for the next stage of the operation. Israeli tanks are said to have moved deeper into the Gaza Strip, threatening parts of Gaza City and other towns nearby. Violent clashes are reported in the outskirts of Gaza City, where Hamas gunners fought back with anti-tank rockets and mortars. Israel said this morning that its forces were close to achieving their objectives in Gaza, but that the operation would continue.