Monday, Jan 12, 2008
Israeli infantry units battled with Hamas fighters across Gaza on Monday as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he hoped Egyptian peace efforts could bring about a swift end to the war.
At least 19 people were reported killed in Monday’s clashes, medics said, pushing the overall toll past the 900 mark in a 17-day-old conflict which has also wounded nearly 4,000 people.
Thousands of Israeli reservists also joined battle against Hamas, the Islamist movement which has continued to fire missiles into Israel throughout Operation Cast Lead, launched with the avowed intent of ending the rocket attacks.
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In Egypt, which has been spearheading Western-backed efforts to end the war that has sparked widespread protests across the world, talks were due to resume between Egyptian officials and Hamas.
But Israel’s pointman for Gaza truce talks, Amos Gilad, delayed a planned visit in what Israeli radio speculated was meant as a pressure tactic on Hamas.
Speaking on a trip to Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, Olmert said Israel was achieving its objectives in the conflict.