Israelis Drive to Heart of Gaza City

Death tolls edges to 900 in 16-day offensive.
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 11, 2009 6:19 AM CST
A Palestinian relative of Hamas militant Ahmad El Shaer, who was killed in an Israeli missile strike, weeps during his funeral in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, today.   (AP Photo/Khaled Omar)
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(Newser) – Israeli forces pushed toward the heart of Gaza City today in continued defiance of a UN call for a ceasefire and killing close to 30  Palestinians, Reuters reports. Nearly 900 people have been killed in the 16-day offensive. Israeli forces and tanks backed by helicopter gunships battled Hamas militants as they pushed into eastern and southern sections of the city.

In broadcast remarks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave no timetable for the Gaza offensive, saying only that Israel "must not miss out" on a chance to "change the security situation. Hamas has refused to lay down arms until Israel ends its assault. Hamas representatives were holding talks in Cairo on an Egypt truce plan.