Israeli naval commandos have launched an early morning raid on a beach in the north of Gaza City, as the coastal enclave suffered the bloodiest day yet of the six-day Israeli assault, with 54 Palestinians reported killed.
The raid came amid continuing speculation that Israel would launch a ground offensive in Gaza, a move likely to sharply increase the number of civilian casualties. So far, 166 people have been killed including 30 children, according to Gaza's health ministry.
In the worst single incident of the conflict so far, 22 people were killed and 45 injured when two large Israeli bombs slammed into a house in the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City where the city's chief of police, Tayseer Batsh, was sheltering.
Most of the injured were returning home from a mosque when they were caught by shrapnel from the blast.
Meanwhile, militants in the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip kept up rocket salvoes deep into Israel.