Middle East Unrest

Death Toll Rises in Gaza Fighting, No Ceasefire In Sight

Israel said it widened its ground offensive in Gaza early Sunday, after demolishing more than a dozen Hamas tunnels. At least a dozen Palestinians were killed Saturday, along with four Israeli soldiers. Since the start of Israel-Hamas fighting almost two weeks ago, 348 Palestinians have been killed and 2,700 wounded in Israeli air and artillery strikes, according to Palestinian health officials. One-fourth of the deaths have come since the ground offensive started late Thursday, the officials said. Seven Israelis — five soldiers and two civilians — have also been killed and dozens wounded.

Palestinian gunmen disguised in Israeli uniforms managed to infiltrate Israel from Gaza using a tunnel and on Saturday killed two Israeli soldiers and injured several others, the military said. At least one Palestinian was killed in the clash. Two other Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting elsewhere, the military said. Doctors said a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter of senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya were killed early Sunday when their house was hit by a tank shell in Gaza City. On Saturday, Israeli tank fire in two incidents was blamed for the deaths of eight members of two Palestinian families, including four children. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon headed to Qatar on Sunday as part of renewed cease-fire efforts.




— The Associated Press