Signs mount of possible Israeli invasion of Gaza
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli aircraft targeted rocket launching operations of Gaza militants early Friday as troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers massed near the Palestinian territory, signaling a ground invasion might be growing near.
Fighting between the two sides escalated sharply Thursday with a first-ever militant attack on the Tel Aviv area, menacing Israel's heartland. No casualties were reported there, but three people died in the country's rocket-scarred south when a projectile slammed into an apartment building.
The death toll in the densely populated Palestinian territory climbed to 19, including five children, according to Palestinian health officials, as waves of Israeli fighter planes and drones sent missiles hurtling down on suspected weapons stores and rocket-launching sites.
Early Friday, 85 missiles exploded within 45 minutes in Gaza City, sending black pillars of smoke towering above the coastal strip's largest city. The military said it was targeting underground rocket launching sites.