Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tanks Roll into Heart of Gaza; Advance to Contact: Soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces Patrol the Northern Gaza Strip. Some of the Heaviest Fighting in the 17-Day Conflict Was Reported, with Constant Machinegun Fire and a Sky Ablaze with Rocket Fire

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tanks Roll into Heart of Gaza; Advance to Contact: Soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces Patrol the Northern Gaza Strip. Some of the Heaviest Fighting in the 17-Day Conflict Was Reported, with Constant Machinegun Fire and a Sky Ablaze with Rocket Fire

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN BENTHAM

ISraeLi forces pushed deeper into Gaza City today amid reports of some of the most fierce fighting so far in its war against Hamas.

Israeli tanks rolled into densely populated parts of the city as flashes of light lit up the sky. there were repeated explosions and the sound of heavy machinegun fire as israeli troops advanced before dawn in a bid to secure more key sites in the city.

At the same time, there were claims by Hamas denied by israel that it had destroyed two israeli tanks, while the militant group also proclaimed that it was "approaching victory" in the conflict. "after 17 days of this foolish conflict, Gaza has not been broken and Gaza wil not collapse," the Hamas leader ismail Haniya said in a broadcast from a secret location. the renewed clashes came as an israeli army patrol on the country's border with Jordan came under fire from gunmen in an attack which will heighten fears about the wider regional impact of the Gaza offensive. although no one was injured, the attack appears to be a further sign of the growing antagonism towards israel that its conflict with Hamas is causing.

There was a similar shooting incident on Sunday along the israel-Syria border, while Palestian militants are thought to have been behind the firing of several rockets from Lebanon last week. Dipolmatic efforts to halt the violence continued with a new call from the United nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a ceasefire as he travelled to the middle east to begin a week of talks with leaders in egypt, israel, Jordan and Syria.

"My message is simple, direct, and to the point: the fighting must stop. to both sides, i say: just stop now," mr Ban said before his departure. …

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