Thursday was another day of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas, as more than 1,700 missiles have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the last three days while the Israeli military has conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza.
Health officials in Gaza said almost 90 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed and hundreds injured in the fighting, while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said seven Israelis have been killed.
According to media reports, mediation efforts by Egyptian officials have yet to bear fruit. Israeli officials have indicated no preparedness to discuss a cease-fire.
"It will take time but with great decisiveness, both defensively and offensively, we will achieve our goal to restore quiet to Israel," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he visited an aerial defense system battery in the center of the country.
"Hamas has initiated this round and took a risk with us," said a senior security official in a briefing for foreign journalists. "We must respond."
The senior official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the humanitarian situation in Gaza has sharply deteriorated since the beginning of the current round of hostilities.
"Hamas rockets have destroyed three power lines in Israel that supply electricity to the Gaza Strip," said the official, adding Gaza's coastal fishing zone has been blocked by the Israeli navy.
Crossings that control the passage of goods from Gaza into Israel have also been closed in the past few days.
On Wednesday, Israeli media reported that the security cabinet authorized a widening of the military operation Guardian of the Gates. Thousands of reserve soldiers have been called for duty in recent days, raising speculation on whether the Israeli government is planning a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip.