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January 7, 2009

Scenes from the Gaza Strip

It has now been 12 days since Israel began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. On January 3rd, the Israeli Defense Force ground troops began entering Gaza, soon cutting the territory in half. Israel's stated goals are to end rocket attacks originating from Gaza - which had increased sharply following the end of a cease-fire agreement in December. As Israeli troops began entering Gaza, foreign reporters and photographers were denied entry to the territory by Israel, halting any reports originating from Gaza except those coming from Palestinians. As of today, since the beginning of this campaign, there have reportedly been over 650 deaths in Gaza, and 10 Israelis killed, including 7 soldiers. Israel suspended operations for a few hours today, to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza. Officials from France, Egypt and Turkey are working with Israel and the Palestinians to draw up a cease-fire plan, but many details still remain unresolved. See previous Big Picture entry on Israel and Gaza from a week ago. (34 photos total)

An explosion is seen as missiles fired from an Israeli aircraft fall towards a target in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Gil Nechushtan)

The moon is seen as an Israeli military attack helicopter flies over the northern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) #

Israeli infantry soldiers walk into Gaza on January 04, 2009 on the border between Gaza and Israel. Israeli forces are battling Hamas fighters as they attempt to take the rocket launch areas used by Hamas since Israeli troops entered Gaza after nightfall on Saturday. It is expected that this will be the first wave of assault, with some 10,000 Israeli troops and hundreds of tanks massed on the Gaza border. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

An Israeli flare lights up an area on the edge of Gaza City after a day of heavy clashes between Hamas fighters and Israeli forces on January 5, 2009. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Smoke from Israeli artillery shelling covers the ground of the northern Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Israeli boy walks into a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel on January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen) #

An Israeli police officer near a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip which landed near Sderot, southern Israel Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

An Israeli gunner covers his ears as a mobile artillery piece fires at a target in the Gaza Strip, on the Israel-Gaza border, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israel seized control of high-rise buildings and attacked houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels as it pressed forward with its offensive against the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers on Monday. (AP Photo) #

The sun sets on the Israel-Gaza border January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

Palestinians hold white flags as a signal for Israeli troops after leaving their house near the area where Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants exchange fire outside Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) #

Artillery shells explode above Gaza City on January 4, 2008, as seen from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Palestinian medic surveys the damage to a mobile medical clinic destroyed after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 5, 2009. Four ambulances and three mobile clinics were destroyed in the bombing at Health Care Union, medical workers and witnesses said. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem) #

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip shows a bomb dropped by an Israeli air force F-16 jet exploding in Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Israeli soldier looks out towards Gaza January 4, 2009 outside of Sderot, Israel. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

An exchange of fire is seen between the area of the Erez Crossing and Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip early January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL) #

Leaflets dropped by Israeli planes are seen falling above the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israel side of the border with Gaza, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) #

The feet of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, are seen in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. (Abid Katib/Getty Images) #

Army officers and medics wheel an Israeli soldier wounded in the Gaza Strip, after he was brought to Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) #

A relative of a Palestinian victim cries at the morgue in the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza. (Abid Katib/Getty Images) #

An Israeli army mortar team launches a round at a Palestinian target inside the Gaza Strip January 1, 2009 as seen from Israel's border with the Hamas-run territory. (David Silverman/Getty Images) #

Palestinian firemen work amongst the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas senior leader Nizar Rayan after an Israeli missiles strike in the refugee camp of Jabaliyaon January 1, 2009 in Gaza, Gaza Strip. (Abid Katib/Getty Images) #

A rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the northern Gaza Strip flies towards an Israeli target Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

An Israel soldier walks at a staging area just outside the Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) #

Debris flies up as a bomb explodes after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic (GAZA) #

An Israeli army soldier stands next to artillery shells at a staging area on the Israel side of the border with Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

People gather around bodies of Palestinians near a U.N.-run school in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. Israeli tank fire killed up to 40 Palestinians at the United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, medical sources at two hospitals said. Israeli officials claim they had targeted Hamas soldiers operating in the area. (REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah) #

Smoke from Israeli artillery shelling billows from the Gaza Strip during sunset on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires a shell towards Gaza from its position outside the central Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL) #

A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

A young Ethiopian immigrant stands in a bomb shelter in the southern city of Beersheba, israel on January 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Eliana Aponte) #

Israeli and foreign photographers take pictures of Israeli troops just outside the northern Gaza Strip January 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL) #

A Palestinian firefighter uses a hose to clean blood from a street in Gaza January 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA) #

Fire and smoke explode from an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on January 3, 2009. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Israeli army mobile cannon redeploys closer to Gaza at sunset January 5, 2009 near Israel's border with the Palestinian territory. (David Silverman/Getty Images) #