About half of them were civilians, the hamas health ministry further announced. On the israeli side, three people had died by sunday evening. Air alert sounded twice in tel aviv.
The israeli army, backed by the USA, continued to bomb numerous targets in the gaza strip on sunday. In parallel, international efforts for a ceasefire continued. Guido westerwelle (FDP) wants to travel to israel in the near future.
Eleven civilians, including five children and two women, were killed in an israeli air strike on a house in gaza on sunday, according to palestinian sources. Palestinian militants fired multiple rockets at the israeli coastal metropolis of tel aviv. But according to the military, the projectiles were intercepted in the sky by the recently installed missile defense system. In ashkelon, beersheva and sderot, several buildings were directly hit by rockets. A firefighter suffered serious head injuries.
Continued violence fed concerns of israeli ground offensive in palastinian area. Prime minister benjamin netanyahu said on sunday, "the operation in the gaza strip continues, and we are ready to expand it even more significantly"."Thousands of reservists are being prepared for a possible ground deployment, according to army sources. Up to 75,000 israelis face draft. Israel’s defense minister ehud barak said sunday that a continuation of the military operation was "self-evident".
Netanyahu called for halt to rocket attacks ahead of ceasefire with hamas, which rules the gaza strip. "First the missile attacks (on israel) must stop, and then we can talk about the rest," he said after a meeting with french auben minister laurent fabius, who is seeking a ceasefire.
Fabius, who also met with israeli auben minister avigdor lieberman, said in jerusalem, "we need to create the conditions for a ceasefire. We must prevent a war in gaza."Westerwelle warned against a further escalation of violence and urged the arabs to exert a moderating influence on the radical-islamic hamas. EU foreign and defense ministers to discuss gaza conflict in brussels this monday.
U.S. President barack obama reaffirmed israel’s right to self-defense. No country will tolerate rockets being repeatedly fired into its territory from outside its borders, he said on sunday. Earlier, a senior U.S. National security adviser said that the israeli government itself was in control of the decision on a ground offensive.
According to its own figures, hamas has fired about 900 rockets since wednesday, and israel has been flying non-stop air raids on the gaza strip. In the night to saturday israel bombed the government center of the hamas. Since wednesday, 69 palastinians have been killed and well over 600 wounded, according to the hamas ministry of health. According to the world health organization (WHO), many women and children were among the victims. Medical care is completely inadequate due to years of blockade of hamas territory, it said.
According to its own reports, the israeli army bombed a hamas training and communications center and the office of al-kuds television on sunday night. According to hospital reports, six palestinian journalists were injured, some of them seriously. Israeli negotiator arrives in cairo for talks on ceasefire with hamas. On monday, un secretary-general ban ki moon was expected in cairo to discuss further action with agyptian president mohammed mursi.
German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) spoke on the phone with head of government netanyahu and emphasized the duty to protect the israeli people. "She agreed with the prime minister that a complete ceasefire must be achieved as soon as possible in order to avoid further bloodshed," a statement from deputy government spokesman georg streiter read.
Merkel also spoke on the phone with agyptian president mursi. Encouraging him to "continue to play his important mediating role in persuading palestinian groups to cease attacks on israel immediately". On saturday, mursi also discussed ways to end the conflict in separate talks with turkish prime minister recep tayyip erdogan and the emir of qatar. Arab league announced solidarity visit to gaza strip. She called the israeli attacks "crimes against humanity.".