Israeli offensive in Gaza intensifies; Casualty toll: 435 Palestinians, 18 Israelis killed

Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Escalating their ground offensive, Israeli troops backed by tanks and warplanes battled Hamas militants in a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City early Sunday. The fighting, including heavy Israeli tank fire, killed scores of Palestinians, forced thousands to flee and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes.

Palestinian health officials reported at least 65 people killed as air and artillery strikes echoed across the city for hours. They put the number of displaced at 35,000, with at least 435 people killed in the nearly two-week conflict.

Israeli military casualties spiked in the fighting, with 13 killed Sunday, raising the total number of dead soldiers to 18. Two civilians also have died in mortar and rocket attacks.

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