Israel has resumed attacks on Gaza, leading to civilian fatalities, say reports. The renewed violence is likely to fuel further speculation about a possible ground operation and add greater urgency to calls for a truce.
Israel bombarded Gaza overnight on Monday, killing four people according to reports, as conflict between the two camps entered its sixth day.
The Israeli military confirmed that it had bombed 80 targets in Gaza overnight. On Monday, one airstrike hit a family home, killing two children and two adults. Forty two people were injured in the attack, according to a health worker. At least a dozen had not yet been removed from the rubble.
Israel also hit the already-damaged former national security compound. One child died as a result of flying shrapnel and others were injured, said a health official.
Senior commander targeted
The violence follows Sunday's fighting, believed to be the most deadly of the six-day conflict so far. An airstrike targeting a top militant destroyed a three-story house killed 11 civilians, four of whom were children, medical officials said.
Israel's Chief Military Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said his side had been trying to target Hamas' senior commander of rocket operations in Gaza, Yihia Abayah.
In Israel, a further 50 people have been injured by rocket strikes from Gaza, according to medical sources.
Ready to "expand" the fight
As the death toll rises, so do fears that the conflict will soon escalate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his country was prepared to "significantly expand" its military strikes on the Gaza Strip.
"We are extracting a heavy price from Hamas and the terror organizations," Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting of his cabinet Sunday. "The army is prepared to significantly expand the operation."
Netanyahu's remarks came as thousands of Israeli troops gathered along the border with Gaza, prompting speculation that Israel was preparing to launch a ground operation. Up to 75,000 reserve troops have been approved for call-up to active duty.
The international community has largely responded to developments by urging for a truce.
"I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate cease-fire," United Nations General Secretary Ban ki-Moon said Sunday.
Ban is to visit Cairo Monday to talk with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Egypt has been mediating talks with senior Hamas officials and Israel to end the violence.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle used an interview with public broadcaster ARD on Monday to describe an end to Hamas rocket fire into Israel as "the prerequisite" for a peace deal.
sej/mz (Reuters, AFP)