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At Least 860 Palestinians Killed, Israel Says Bombings Will Continue


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel's military is fulfilling its goals in Gaza, but will continue the offensive against Hamas until troops have completely halted rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Mr. Olmert said Sunday in a Cabinet meeting that for Israel to stop now would be wasting its efforts with success in sight.

Gaza medical officials say about 850 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the 16 days since Israel's military offensive began.

Witnesses say Israeli tanks and warplanes pounded the outskirts of Gaza City Sunday, while Hamas militants fired anti-tank missiles at the advancing forces. Several Palestinians were killed in today's fighting in northern Gaza.

Hamas and Israel continue to disregard international appeals for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Israel's military on Saturday issued a warning to residents of the Gaza Strip that it intends to intensify its offensive against Palestinian militants.

Aircraft dropped leaflets warning that the Israeli army will continue attacking tunnels, weapons caches and terrorists with increasing force throughout the Gaza Strip.

Gaza medics say about half of the dead are civilians. Israel says it is not targeting civilians and has accused Hamas gunmen of launching rockets from populated areas.

Thirteen Israelis have been killed, including 10 soldiers, along with three civilians hit by rocket fire.

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, speaking in Damascus Saturday, accused Israel of perpetrating a "holocaust" in the Gaza Strip.

He said the Israeli offensive in Gaza has eliminated the possibility of lasting peace between Israel and the Arab world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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