Israeli F-16 bombers have pounded key targets across the Gaza Strip, killing more than 200 people, local medics say.
About 700 others were wounded, as missiles struck security compounds and militant bases.
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said the operation "may take some time"- but he pledged to avoid a humanitarian crisis. "It's not going to last a few days," he said in a televised statement. An other statement said "Israel was responding to an escalation in rocket attacks from Gaza and would bomb as long as necessary".
These were the heaviest Israeli attacks on Gaza for decades. (Full)
Picture courtesy AFP