Ibrahim Barzak And Amy Teibel
Monday, Jan 5, 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel consolidated its hold on parts of the Gaza Strip on Monday, seizing high-rise buildings on the outskirts of the territory’s biggest city as a stream of world leaders headed for the region to press for a truce.
At least seven Palestinian children were killed, adding to the growing toll of civilian deaths that has caused international outrage.
As the bruising campaign against Gaza’s Hamas rulers entered its 10th day, the group continued to pummel southern Israel with rockets.
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Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the offensive would continue until Israel achieved “peace and tranquility” for residents of southern Israel. Hamas fighters, defying the attacks, fired more than two dozen rockets by midday, and Hamas’ strongman urged Palestinians to “crush” the invading Israeli forces and target Israeli civilians.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who unsuccessfully proposed a two-day truce before the ground offensive began, was due to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.