Israeli air strikes and artillery shelling on the Gaza Strip Wednesday killed 23 Palestinians and wounded more than 40, according to Palestinian sources, in one of the bloodiest days since Israel began its offensive in the area one month ago.
Most of the dead were militants, Palestinians said, but four children were among the civilian fatalities. Three of the wounded were in critical condition.
Palestinian security officials said dozens of Israeli armoured vehicles and bulldozers rolled into the area amid intensive gunfire.
They also said that Israeli aircraft carried out four separate air strikes on militants who tried to confront the Israeli push.
Palestinian sources said an Israeli aircraft launched a missile strike at the training camp of the Hamas-led interior ministry's security auxiliary force in northern Gaza City. Eight people were injured.
The Israeli army said the air force also attacked two buildings in Jabalia and Rafah used to store weapons.
The Israeli ground incursion is part of an ongoing military offensive on the Gaza Strip that began on June 28, three days after the Hamas snatched an Israeli soldier in an attack on an army post bordering the strip.
More than 160 Palestinians have been killed and over then 500 wounded since the Israeli offensive started. At the same time, militants have fired well over 100 rockets at southern Israel.