15 Jan 2009

Gaza death toll now tops 1000

6:10 am on 15 January 2009

Hamas says the Palestinian death toll in Israel's Gaza offensive now tops 1000.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 1010 people have been killed and 4700 wounded by Israeli forces since 27 December.

A Palestinian Centre for Human Rights based in Gaza said more than 670 civilians were among the dead.

Israeli casualties total 10 soldiers and three civilians killed by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli aircraft have spent another day bombing tunnels under the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt.

Israel says 35 tunnels were bombed as well as the Hamas police headquarters in the city of Gaza City.

Meanwhile, Egyptian mediators on Wednesday pressed both sides for a ceasefire.

A senior Israeli defence official is expected to visit Cairo on Thursday.

Details of proposal

Egypt proposes a temporary ceasefire, followed by a long-term truce and the opening of border crossings in the presence of officials from the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, whose forces were driven out of Gaza by Hamas in 2007.

The third phase of the proposal deals with efforts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas wants a six to 12-month-long renewable truce coupled with an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the opening of crossing points.

In an audio tape, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has called for jihad over the Israeli offensive, which has caused widespread anger in the Arab and Muslim world.