Worldwide pressure is mounting for a cease-fire in the weeklong clash between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, but the warring parties continued their attacks across the skies on Monday.
The European Union said it is talking with "parties in the region" in an attempt to broker a halt to the combat. It called on Israel and Hamas "to exercise maximum restraint."
The Arab League called on the "international community" to help end the Israeli airstrikes, saying the bombardment of Gaza "cannot be met with silence any more."
The pan-Arab organization said legal and humanitarian organizations need to protect the Palestinian people.
Egypt and Qatar were also involved but peace efforts were complicated by Hamas's rejection of a mere “calm for calm” in which both sides hold their fire in favor of wider conditions.
But the warfare continued unabated, and there appeared to be no public movement by Israel or Hamas to end the hostilities.
Hamas said it would not agree to end its rocket attacks into Israel without several concessions from the Jewish state, including the end to its blockade of the Gaza Strip and the release of Palestinian prisoners it is holding.
Also, two Israeli airstrikes targeted the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, killing four Palestinians and bringing the death toll from the seven days of attacks to 175, including militants, women and children.
Israel said there have been no deaths in the rocket attacks by Hamas. It credits its Iron Dome anti-missile defense system for the lack of casualties.
Earlier Monday, the Israeli military said it shot down a drone aircraft that flew into Israel from Gaza but mostly held back from a threatened escalation of attacks on the northern Gaza Strip.
A spokesperson said the drone, the first reported deployment of an unmanned aircraft by Palestinian militants, was flying over Ashdod, located about halfway between the Gaza Strip and Tel Aviv, when Israeli forces hit it with a Patriot missile on Monday.
“Hamas is trying for an achievement at any price,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, referring to the drone, said in a statement on Monday. “We will continue to pummel Hamas and other terrorist organizations until the safety of Israeli citizens is ensured.”
The military also said Hamas militants fired more than 20 rockets Monday from Gaza, while Israeli warplanes and naval gunboats targeted dozens of sites overnight in their nearly weeklong campaign to halt the rocket attacks.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed alarm at the violence and demanded both sides take immediate steps to end the fighting.
Ban said in a statement late Sunday Hamas rocket fire goes against international law, while "too many Palestinians have been killed" by Israeli airstrikes.
More than 160 Palestinians killed
Palestinian officials said more than 175 people have been killed, including militants, since Israel launched its offensive last Tuesday. Most of the dead are said to be civilians.
The U.N. children's agency said Monday that 33 children are among those who have died, and that young people are "bearing the brunt" of the violence.
It joined the U.N. Security Council's call from Saturday for an immediate cease-fire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for civilian casualties, saying Sunday the militants are hiding explosives beneath hospitals and using Gaza residents as human shields.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he has appealed to Ban for "international protection" for the Palestinian people.
International calls for a cease-fire have grown as the death toll has mounted in the worst flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence for almost two years, sparked by the murder of three Israeli teenagers and revenge killing of a Palestinian youth.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.