Peace Team Rushes to Gaza as Toll Tops 520

Sarkozy to meet with Israeli leaders today
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jan 5, 2009 4:19 AM CST

(Newser) – A European peace and humanitarian team and French President Nicolas Sarkozy headed to the region today as Israeli ground-assault tanks pushed further into Palestinian territory, and edged the death toll close to 530, Reuters reports. Hamas militants have retaliated by firing rocket-propelled grenades at tanks in eastern Gaza, and at least one missile today into the Jewish state. The European delegation plans to work toward reestablishing a ceasefire, and deliver aid to the region.

Sarkozy, who is working alongside the EU delegation, is expected to meet with Israeli leaders today. He condemned the offensive for hurting chances for peace and making it harder to get aid to Gaza. In a separate statement, the EU delegation, headed by Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, said they would "make sure that aid reaches the inhabitants of the Gaza and  does not disappear somewhere along the way."