An Israeli air attack has today morning killed 12 members of one family in the Gaza Strip, just hours after Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said his country was ready to “significantly expand” its operation against Palestinian fighters in the territory.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate ceasefire between the two sides as he prepares to join talks in Egypt aimed at brokering a ceasefire.
Barack Obama, the US president, said that while Israel had a right to defend itself, it would be “preferable” to avoid an Israeli ground invasion. Sunday’s 30 deaths in Gaza, including the deaths of seven civilians on Monday, have brought the total number of Palestinians killed to 82 since the Israeli air strikes began targeting the Hamas-ruled territory six days ago.
On their part, fighters in Gaza continued to fire rockets into Israel. Two of them, aimed at the commercial hub of Tel Aviv, were shot down by Israel’s anti-missile system, police said.
“The operation in the Gaza Strip is continuing, and we are preparing to expand it,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“We are extracting a heavy price from Hamas and the terror organisations.” He added.
Meanwhile, thousands of Israeli troops backed by armour massed along the Gaza border, fuelling fears that Israel is poised to expand its aerial bombing campaign into a ground operation.
Ashraf al-Kidra, spokesperson of the health ministry in Gaza, said on Sunday that civilians accounted for half of the Palestinian death toll. More than 750 other Palestinians have been wounded.
In the single deadliest attack of the Israeli operation so far, 12 civilians were killed in Sunday’s air attack on a four-storey house in northern Gaza City, health officials said.