Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly indicated his readiness to mount a massive ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to destroy the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the territory.
Fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas combatants continued, with the combined death toll from Israel and Gaza exceeding 4,000. Health officials in Gaza say 2,670 people have been killed there, while at least 1,400 people lost their lives on the Israeli side.
Netanyahu spoke on Sunday at the first cabinet meeting of the emergency government, which he formed with an opposition party in response to surprise attacks by Hamas on Israel.
Netanyahu said Israeli soldiers "are ready to take action at any time in order to defeat the bloodthirsty monsters."
The Israeli military's Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi told its troops that their responsibility is to enter Gaza and attack every Hamas commander and operative.
The Israeli military announced on Sunday that it had killed the commander of the southern district of Hamas' security wing.
More than 100 tanks and military vehicles converged in a suburb of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Sunday. The site is about 10 kilometers from Gaza.
Ashkelon and other Israeli locations came under rocket attacks by Hamas, sending residents fleeing to a hotel and elsewhere. But the hotel was also damaged by a rocket. Its manager said he hopes attacks from Gaza will cease.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is gravely worsening with drinking water and medicine in short supply.
Health officials in the territory say the number of injured people who remain unattended is growing as Israeli airstrikes are hitting hospitals and killing medical workers.
A rescue group in Gaza said on Sunday that more than 1,000 people remain missing, with many of them believed to be trapped under buildings flattened by Israeli air raids.