Israeli troops have been battling Hamas gunmen in suburbs of Gaza City in one of the fiercest ground battles so far.
The fighting erupted in the Sheikh Ajleen and Tal al-Hawa before dawn and continued into Sunday morning. Israel’s military is slowing inching its way towards Gaza’s most populated areas and people who have the means have been trying to get out. The gunfire subsided in the early afternoon with the Israelis in control of buildings on the neighbourhood’s outskirts. But there was little sign of a let-up in the bombing campaign. Israel refuses to reveal which weapons it has been using saying only that all its arms are being used in accordance with international law. But as the number of casualties increases, the New York based organisation Human Rights Watch has repeated its condemnation of Israel’s apparent use of white-phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas. The chemical can severely burn people and set structures on fire. There was a temporary lull in the fighting on Sunday during which Israel allowed a number of trucks loaded with aid into the Gaza Strip. But human rights groups said it may be too little too late for many; local medical and aid distribution services have been struggling to handout what little relief supplies are being allowed through.