Israel mounts fiercest attacks so far in Gaza war against Hamas
Israel's military bombarded southern Gaza's main city in what it said was the fiercest fighting since it began a ground invasion to eliminate Hamas five weeks ago, while the U.S. again pressed Israel to minimise Palestinian civilian casualties.
Israel reported its forces, backed by war planes, on Tuesday reached the heart of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and also surrounded the city. Hamas' armed wing, the al Qassam Brigades, said its fighters engaged in violent clashes with Israelis.
"We are in the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation," the commander of the Israeli military's Southern Command, General Yaron Finkelman, said in a statement.
The combat was also the most intense since a truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed last week. Israeli forces also fought in Jabalia, a large urban refugee camp and Hamas hotbed in the north next to Gaza City, and in Shuja'iyya to the east, Finkelman said.
Hamas' armed wing said it killed or wounded eight Israeli troops and destroyed 24 military vehicles on Tuesday. An Israeli military website listed two troop deaths for Tuesday and 83 since the ground operation began.