November 19, 2012 - 17:40 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Israel bombed dozens of targets in Gaza on Monday, Nov 19, and said that while it was prepared to step up its offensive by sending in troops, it preferred a diplomatic solution that would end Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave, Reuters reported.
As international pressure mounted for a truce, mediator Egypt said a deal to end the fighting could be close.
Twelve Palestinian civilians and four fighters were killed in the air strikes, bringing the Gaza death toll since fighting began on Wednesday to 90, more than half of them non-combatants, local officials said. Three Israeli civilians have been killed.
After an overnight lull, militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip fired 45 rockets at southern Israel, causing no casualties, police said. One damaged a school, but it was closed at the time.
The deaths of 11 Palestinian civilians - nine from one family - in an air strike on Sunday - drew more international calls for an end to six days of hostilities and could test Western support for an offensive Israel billed as self-defense after years of cross-border rocket attacks.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo to weigh in on ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed faction in the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli media said a delegation from Israel had also been to Cairo for the truce talks.