Israeli troops pushed further into populated areas of the Gaza Strip and bombed targets near the Egyptian border on Sunday.
Medical officials in Gaza say at least 870 Palestinians have been
killed in the 16-day Israeli offensive, which Israel says is to stop
Hamas militants from firing missiles into southern Israel. The
Palestinian rocket attacks continued on Sunday.
Shrapnel apparently from an Israeli air strike wounded two Egyptian
police officers and two young children near the Rafah border crossing
with Egypt Sunday.
Medical officials estimate that about half of the Palestinian
casualties are civilians. Israel has kept foreign reporters from
entering Gaza, and casualty figures are hard to confirm.
Ten Israeli soldiers have been killed in the fighting. Three Israeli civilians have died in rocket fire.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in his weekly Cabinet meeting
Sunday that the military will continue the offensive against Hamas
until rocket attacks on southern Israel stop.
Both Israel and Hamas have refused calls from the United Nations Security Council and others for a cease-fire.
Some Israeli strikes have targeted smuggling tunnels near the Rafah
border crossing with Egypt. Hamas militants, as well as residents of
Gaza, use those networks of tunnels to smuggle supplies.
On Saturday, Israel's military issued a warning to residents of the
Gaza Strip that it intends to intensify its offensive against
Palestinian militants. Aircraft dropped leaflets warning that the
Israeli army will continue attacking tunnels, weapons caches and
terrorists with increasing force throughout the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli military spokesman said army reservists, held back until now, are being deployed to Gaza.
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, speaking in Damascus Saturday, said
the Israeli offensive in Gaza has eliminated the possibility of lasting
peace between Israel and the Arab world.