Pro-Palestinian protesters face police in Paris during a
demonstration against violence in the Gaza strip.
Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack
by Hamas militants, the army said, as the Palestinian death
toll from the conflict rose above 300 with no diplomatic
solution in sight.
The Israeli military said four other soldiers were wounded in
the raid by fighters who had used a concealed tunnel to reach
Israel. One Hamas gunman was killed, while the rest of the
group managed to escape back into the Gaza Strip, the
Israel sent ground forces into Hamas-controlled Gaza on
Thursday after 10 days of air and naval barrages failed to
stop rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.
It has vowed to destroy the tunnel network and hunt down the
militants' stockpiles of missiles.
The land incursion has so far failed to subdue Hamas and its
allies, who fired more than 90 rockets into Israel on
Saturday, the Israeli army said. One killed a man and wounded
two children in a southern Bedouin Arab village in Israel,
Gaza officials said at least 335 Palestinians, including 70
children, have been killed in the 12-day conflict - about 100
in the last 48 hours alone. On Israel's side, three soldiers
and two civilians have died.
Diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire involving, amongst
others, Egypt, Qatar, France and the United Nations, have
failed to make headway. Hamas rejected an initial attempt by
Cairo last week to end the fighting.
The sound of explosions rocked Gaza through the day, while
sirens repeatedly sounded in towns and cities in southern and
central Israel, warning of approaching missiles.
Eight members of a Palestinian family, including a six-month
old baby and two children aged three and 13, died overnight
when an Israeli shell hit their house in Beit Hanoun, in
northeastern Gaza, officials said.
"Oh, God. Oh, God," a shocked relative said, repeatedly
knocking his head against a wall as rescuers searched for
Hostilities between the two sides escalated following the
killing last month of three Jewish students that Israel
blames on Hamas. Hamas neither confirmed nor denied
involvement. The apparent revenge murder of a Palestinian
youth in Jerusalem, for which Israel has charged three Jews,
further fuelled tensions.
Israeli bulldozers and engineers worked along a mile-wide
strip of Gaza's eastern frontier, uncovering 13 tunnels, at
least one of them 30 metres (90 feet) deep, military
spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said.
About 95 rocket launchers were also found and destroyed in
the sweep, he added.
Searches were continuing on what he described as an
open-ended mission that had "severely impeded Hamas
Israel says more than 1,500 rockets have been fired out of
Gaza during this month's fighting, and between 3,000-4,000
others destroyed in military strikes - together almost half
of the militants' original estimated arsenal.
Hamas says it is continuously replenishing its stock of
weapons and is ready for a prolonged conflict.
The Israeli death toll has been kept low due to the rockets'
relative inaccuracy, a network of air raid sirens and
shelters and the Iron Dome rocket interceptor's 90 percent
The Israeli military urged Palestinians to flee an
ever-growing area of Gaza ahead of further military action in
the Mediterranean enclave. Locals say about half of the
territory's 1.8-million population have been told to move.
With both the Israeli and Egyptian borders sealed off, Gazans
say they have few places to escape to.
The largest United Nations agency in Gaza, UNRWA, said about
61,500 people had sought refugee in its buildings, mainly
schools - more than in any previous conflict there between
Israel and Islamist militants.
"My family and I left the house with nothing but the clothes
we were wearing at two in the morning," said Kareem Ramadan,
45, an unemployed father of three, resting in an UNWRA school
in northern Gaza.
"Maybe we'll go back and see the house destroyed, but at
least we're alive."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to travel to the
region this weekend as part of a growing international
efforts to end hostilities, while French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius met officials in both Egypt and Jordan to
discuss the crisis.
"Our absolute priority is to have a ceasefire. Egypt has put
forward a good initiative," Fabius said in Jordan, before
heading to Israel for more talks.
However, Egypt said on Saturday it had no plans to revise the
ceasefire proposal, which Hamas has already rejected.
Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of numerous
European cities, including London and Paris, to demand an
immediate end to the conflict.
"There will be no truce without an end to the war that the
Occupation (Israel) began, a lifting of the blockade and a
halt to all violations and killings in Gaza and the West
Bank," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.