x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Israeli air strike kills 9 members of one family

A least 23 Palestinian civilians were killed yesterday - including at least nine members of one family - by Israeli air strikes.

TEL AVIV // Israel's air strikes killed at least 23 Palestinian civilians yesterday - including at least nine members of one family.

One strike reduced the home of Mohamed Daloo's family to rubble. Among those killed along with Mr Daloo, who was reported to be a Hamas official, werefive women and four small children, a member of Hamas said.

It was the deadliest incident yet of the five-day-old military operation in the enclave, and an attack likely to draw international condemnation and pressure on Israel to advance ceasefire talks.

The killings could increase pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to scale down the operation that has so far claimed the lives of at least 69 Palestinians, including 16 children.

But even as Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet yesterday that the army was preparing for a major expansion of its operation, signs emerged of a possible truce deal with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

An Israeli envoy, whose identity was not disclosed, held talks yesterday with authorities in Cairo, where officials have been leading international efforts to mediate a truce between the two sides.

In Cairo, Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, said that "there are some indications that there is a possibility of a ceasefire soon, but we do not yet have firm guarantees".

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, is due to visit Cairo today to hold talks with Mr Morsi. He is expected in Israel later in the week to meet Israeli leaders.