Israeli air strike kills 11 civilians in Gaza: Hamas

Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:17pm EST
 
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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli missile killed at least 11 Palestinian civilians including four children in Gaza on Sunday, medical officials said, apparently an attack on a top militant that brought a three-storey home crashing down.

International pressure for a ceasefire seemed certain to mount in response to the deadliest single incident in five days of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has taken the lead in trying to broker a ceasefire and Israeli media said a delegation from Israel had been to Cairo for talks on ending the fighting, although a government spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi met Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal and Islamic Jihad's head Ramadan Shallah as part of the mediation efforts, but a presidency statement did not say if they were conclusive.

Izzat Risheq, a close aide to Meshaal, wrote in a Facebook message that Hamas would agree to a ceasefire only after Israel "stops its aggression, ends its policy of targeted assassinations and lifts the blockade of Gaza".

Listing Israel's terms for ceasing fire, Moshe Yaalon, a deputy to the prime minister, wrote on Twitter: "If there is quiet in the south and no rockets and missiles are fired at Israel's citizens, nor terrorist attacks engineered from the Gaza Strip, we will not attack."

Gaza health officials said 72 Palestinians , 21 of them children and several women have been killed in Gaza since Israel's offensive began. Hundreds have been wounded.

Israel gave off signs of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-run enclave as the next stage in its offensive, billed as a bid to stop Palestinian rocket fire into the Jewish state. It also spelt out its conditions for a truce.   Continued...

 
A Palestinian stone-thrower uses a sling to throw back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli security forces during clashes outside Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 18, 2012. The clashes broke out following a protest against Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman