More new weaponry from Hamas? Israel says it shot down a drone launched from the Gaza Strip today, the first time it has encountered a drone in an offensive that is now in its seventh day, Reuters reports. It's not clear whether the drone shot down by a Patriot missile in southern Israel carried explosives, but Hamas says it has sent several drones to carry out "special missions" inside Israel. In other developments:
- Thousands of people fled their homes in northern Gaza after the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning of an impending assault—but even though the United Nations has doubled its number of spots for displaced people to 20,000, there is a shortage of places for people to take refuge, the Palestinian Authority's UK envoy tells the BBC. "There are no shelters, no bunkers, no place to go, except their homes," he says. "If they leave their homes, they will be hit on the street." Israel attacked more than 200 targets overnight but after a brief raid by Israeli commandos yesterday, there was no sign of a major escalation in northern Gaza.
- In Israel, mass text messages that at first appear to be official ones are causing alarm, the Washington Post finds. Some warn of impending Hamas rocket attacks, while one read, "Suicide bomber sneaked to Tel Aviv and center targeting shelters. Beware of strangers in shelters." It's not clear who is behind the messages.
- With the Palestinian death toll now at 172, including 18 members of one family killed in a strike over the weekend, Israel is continuing to reject international calls for a ceasefire, and Hamas is still firing rockets, CNN reports. Despite efforts to persuade both sides to agree to a truce, "hope for peaceful resolution seems to be even further away," Germany's foreign minister said yesterday.
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