The bombardment seemed nearly constant: more than 250 airstrikes that blew out windows, peppered buildings with shrapnel and rattled nerves. But Gaza Strip residents said Israel's targets appeared chosen primarily to send a message.
Israeli forces and the Islamist movement Hamas exchanged fire Friday for a third day, and appeared to inch closer to all-out conflict. A visit by Egypt's prime minister failed to bring even a temporary lull in the fighting. And Palestinian militants continued to press Israel's limits, for the first time firing two homemade rockets in the direction of Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet approved a "considerable intensification of the operation" Friday night, including expanding the call-up of Israeli reservists to 75,000, according to a government official. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said a ground invasion of Gaza could be launched in a matter of days if rocket attacks on Israel didn't stop.