Article published on the 2009-01-12 Latest update 2009-01-12 09:52 TU
Warplanes targeted weapon storage sites, smuggling tunnels and groups of fighters overnight, according to an army spokesperson. And for the third night in a row, no rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip. Late Sunday the Israeli army began sending reserve troops into the area
Diplomatic discussions continue in an effort to resolve the crisis. The Israeli representative for ceasefire talks, Amos Gilad, was due to travel to Egypt Monday for the second time in less than a week, but the trip has been delayed. Instead Egyptian officials will meet Hamas spokespeople to continue talks.
“A meeting is taking place with a Hamas delegation and talks will resume tomorrow with the Israelis,” said Egypt’s Head of State Information, Ismail Khart.
Both Israel and Hamas had ignored a United Nations Security Council resolution to end fighting immediately, and on Sunday Egypt tried to put pressure on Israel to ensure that they comply and open humanitarian corridors to the territory.
Israel has made some comments about the length of the operation, and on Sunday suggested that their offensive could be nearing the end.
“The decision of the [UN] Security Council doesn’t give us much leeway,” said Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai.
“Thus it would seem that we are close to ending the ground operation and ending the operation altogether,” he added.
Over 900 people have been killed in the fighting so far, according to Muawiya Hassanein, the head of medical rescue services in Gaza. The dead include about 275 children.
Belgium, who are helping to evacuate wounded children out of the territory, said transport planes they have waiting in Egypt will be kept on the ground for another day as fighting prevents them from taking off.
In other developments, plastic explosives were seized in Lebanon during the weekend according to a UN spokesperson.
A small amount of explosives were found in a metal tool box at the front of a garbage truck entering a UN base in southern Lebanon. Two suspects were handed over to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
And in Iran, the government has endorsed a bill to apply sanctions to businesses who trade with Israel. The bill, which is likely to be endorsed by Parliament, will apply to multinational companies which operate in Iran and “invest in the occupied lands or help the Zionist regime,” said a government-run publication.