An Israeli soldier has been killed in clashes as ground forces pushed into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV news channel reported on Sunday.
Meanwhile, at least 19 Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli ground fire and air strikes in Gaza early on Sunday, medics said. 18 people were killed around Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya in the north and one near Khan Yunis in the south, they said. Palestinian medics said "several" Hamas fighters had been seriously wounded.
In Tel Aviv, Defence Minister Ehud Barak told reporters on Sunday ahead of a cabinet meeting his country will expand and intensify its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip "as much as necessary." "This operation won't be easy and won't be simple," he said, according to AFP. "The operation will be expanded and intensified as much as necessary. War is not a picnic."