Israeli officials say they are not interested in a
truce with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as airstrikes against Hamas
targets in the Gaza Strip continue into a fourth day.
Authorities in the Gaza Strip say ten people were killed in Tuesday's Israeli airstrikes, including two young sisters. The airstrikes destroyed five Hamas government buildings, as well as a building belonging to the Islamic University. A number of security outposts were also flattened in the attacks.
Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes since Saturday have killed at least 350 people, mostly Hamas militants. A United Nations aid agency (UNRWA) in Gaza says 57 civilians are among the dead.
The offensive began in reaction to Hamas resuming rocket attacks after a six-month truce expired last week. Despite the airstrikes, Palestinian militants have fired dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel since Monday, killing at least four people.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has informed President Shimon Peres the airstrikes are "the first of several" offensives that have been approved by the security cabinet. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said the government is prepared for a prolonged action lasting weeks.
Israel's military declared areas around Gaza a "closed military zone," a move that in the past has preceded Israeli ground assaults into Gaza.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his country is engaged in "all-out war" with Gaza's Hamas rulers. Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007, after seizing control from Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mr. Abbas appealed for talks with his Hamas rivals to form a united front against what he called Israel's massive aggression in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Egypt opened its border crossing with Gaza to allow wounded Palestinians to enter for medical treatment. Egyptian authorities also allowed food and medical supplies to be delivered into Gaza through the crossing.
Israeli officials say one of its patrol vessels rammed into a boat that attempted to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip earlier today. The boat, called the "Dignity," was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza. The boat was escorted to the territorial waters of Cyprus after the incident.
Some information for this report was provided by
AFP, AP and Reuters.