Ready for War, Israel Still Pushes for Peace

Death Toll at 90 After Air Strike Wipes Out Gaza Family

Ready for Fight: Peace efforts continued even as thousands of Israeli troops massed on the border with Gaza for a possible ground war.
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Ready for Fight: Peace efforts continued even as thousands of Israeli troops massed on the border with Gaza for a possible ground war.

By Reuters

Published November 19, 2012.
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Israel bombed dozens of targets in Gaza on Monday and said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave.

As international pressure mounted for a truce, mediator Egypt said a deal to end the fighting could be close.

Twelve Palestinian civilians and four fighters were killed in the air strikes, bringing the Gaza death toll since fighting began on Wednesday to 90, more than half of them non-combatants, local officials said. Three Israeli civilians have been killed.

After an overnight lull, militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip fired 45 rockets at southern Israel, causing no casualties, police said. One damaged a school, but it was closed at the time.

The deaths of 11 Palestinian civilians - nine from one family - in an air strike on Sunday - drew more international calls for an end to six days of hostilities and could test Western support for an offensive Israel billed as self-defence after years of cross-border rocket attacks.

Israel’s military did not immediately comment on a report in the liberal Haaretz newspaper that it had mistakenly fired on the Dalu family home, where the dead spanned four generations, while trying to kill a Hamas rocketry chief.

Echoes of explosions in Gaza mixed with cries of grief and defiant chants of “God is greatest” at the funeral of the four children and five women killed in the attack that flattened the three-storey house. Their bodies were wrapped in Palestinian and Hamas flags and thousands turned out to mourn them.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo to weigh in on ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed faction in the Palestinian enclave.


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