Israel’s cabinet yesterday approved the call-up of thousands of reservists as the military deployed tanks close to the border with Gaza while pressing on with air strikes, suggesting a major ground invasion was being considered to follow the biggest single day of conflict in Gaza since the 1967 war.
Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, reportedly told a cabinet meeting the fighting in Gaza would be “long, painful and difficult”. After two days of air raids, more than 290 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 600 injured. Gaza’s hospitals, already short of supplies, had corpses lying on their floors as the morgues filled up.
In an attempt to escape the mayhem, hundreds of Gazans broke through the border fence with Egypt at Rafah, where Palestinian gunmen and Egyptian border guards traded gunfire, killing one Egyptian and one Palestinian.