Yesterday’s killing by Israel of Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan has escalated the conflict, with the militant group vowing to avenge his death. Two of his wives and seven of his children died in the attack. A mosque was one of around 20 targets hit by Israeli overnight air strikes in which two people were killed. Israeli security officials said rockets had been stored there.
At least 414 people have died in air raids on Gaza since last Saturday. With Israel poised to launch a ground offensive analysts say its leaders feel under pressure to act ahead of next month’s general election. Surveys indicate the assaults may boost support for centrist candidates Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, against frontrunner Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party.