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Israel weighs 48-hour halt to Gaza air campaign
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Israeli warplanes continued to pummel Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Israel is considering a suspension of its Gaza offensive to give Hamas militants a chance to halt their rocket fire. But the threat of a ground attack remains if the truce does not hold.

Reports say Israel's defence minister is to raise the proposal of suspending its military offensive for 48 hours during a meeting of Israel's security Cabinet on Wednesday.

The Cabinet will also be asked to consider various plans for a ground invasion. Thousands of Israeli ground troops, backed by tanks and artillery, remain massed along the border.

Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, says the current, aerial phase of the operation is the first of several stages that has been approved.

On Tuesday, Israeli aircraft kept up a relentless string of assaults on Gaza. The assaults smashed a Hamas government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander.

At least 370 Palestinians have been killed so far, most of them Hamas police.

Meanwhile, a Hamas spokesman has suggested that the group would not accept a truce with Israel.

Militants have pressed on with their rocket and mortar assaults, which have killed four Israelis since the weekend.

Militants fired two rockets at the Israeli city of Beersheba, 46 kilometres from Gaza- reaching deeper into Israel than ever before.

The military estimates that nearly 10 percent of Israel's population of 7 million people is now within rocket range.

Also on Tuesday, an Israeli tank was seen firing near the Gaza-Israel border at Karni.

The Israeli military says the tank was firing towards a Hamas facility.

(CCTV December 31, 2008)


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