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Terrified residents ran for cover Tuesday in a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City as Israeli troops backed by tanks thrust deeper into the city and sought Hamas fighters in alleyways and cellars. On the diplomatic front, Egyptian mediators pushed Hamas to accept a truce proposal and, in a hopeful sign, Israel sent its lead negotiator to Cairo for "decisive" talks on a cease-fire. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also headed for the region to join diplomatic efforts. Israeli military officials say that depending on what happens with what they described as "decisive" talks in Cairo, Israel will move closer to a cease-fire or widen its offensive.-- Associated Press (21 images)

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An explosion from an Israeli airstrike is seen in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 13. Israeli troops advanced into Gaza suburbs for the first time early Tuesday, residents said, hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Islamic militants that they face an "iron fist" unless they agree to Israeli terms for an end to war in the Gaza Strip.  AP / Abdalrahem Khateb


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Artillery shells explode in the air to lay down smoke cover over Palestinian homes as the Israeli army battles Hamas militants in the central Gaza Strip Jan. 12, as seen from Israel's border with the Palestinian territory. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. Getty Images / David Silverman



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A column of Israeli army tanks advances to join the fighting against Hamas militants on Jan. 13, as they drive alongside Israel's border with the Palestinian territory. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. Getty Images / David Silverman



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People hide behind their vehicles after a siren alerted residents to an incoming Hamas rocket fired from Gaza on Jan. 11, in Ashkelon, Israel. Despite a recent United Nations call for an immediate end to the fighting, hostilities continued today between Israel and Hamas militants as Israeli troops entered the outskirts of Gaza City but failed to end rocket fire from Hamas. Getty Images / Spencer Platt



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Ultra-Orthodox Jews watch the bombardment of Gaza from Horseman's Hill, known locally as Parash Hill, Jan. 13, near Sderot in southern Israel. Scores of Israelis are flocking to the scenic beauty spot, which in times of peace is a place for a quiet picnic or a nature walk, to get a look at the flashes of explosions and towers of smoke which mark Israel's fight against Hamas militants in the nearby Palestinian territory. Getty Images / David Silverman



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Members of the Association of Hungarian Jewish communities and their sympathizers hold a banner reading ''Let's say no to missiles fired to the Holy Land!'' as they gather for a peaceful pro-Israel demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in Budapest on Jan. 13. The gathering happens three days after another heterogeneous march on downtown avenue Andrassy with 500-1,000 participants against Israel's attack on Gaza. AFP / Getty Images / Attila Kisbenedek



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Israeli soldiers gesture from atop their armored vehicle after they crossed into Israel, from a combat mission in the Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 12. Israeli warplanes pounded the homes of Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and ground troops edged ever closer to the territory's densely-populated urban center Monday but reported casualties were low, an indication that Hamas was largely avoiding pitched battles with the advancing Israelis. AP / Lefteris Pitarakis



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An Israeli army mortar squad fires a round towards a target in the Gaza Strip, from the Israel side of the border, in southern Israel, Monday Jan. 12. AP / Bernat Armangue



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Israeli soldiers sleep on top of their armoured personnel carrier (APC) in a deployment area on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border on Jan. 11. Israeli troops and armour pushed deeper into Gaza's main city today, sending panicked Palestinian civilians into flight, after Israel warned it would step up its war on Hamas which remained defiant. AFP / Getty Images / Jack Guez



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An Israeli soldier sleeps on a Israeli armoured personnel carriers (APC) on the Israeli-Gaza border on Jan. 12. Israeli troops clashed with Hamas fighters on Monday across the Gaza Strip after the Jewish state poured reserve troops into the territory and ceasefire talks plodded on in Egypt. Israeli warplanes struck some 12 targets in Gaza overnight, the army said, marking the lowest level of night-time bombing of Israel's deadliest offensive in the Palestinian enclave launched in response to rocket fire. AFP / Getty Images / Dmitry Kostyukov



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An Israeli soldier yawns as he carries his sleeping matress on Jan. 12, at the Israeli-Gaza border. AFP / Getty Images / Dmitry Kostyukov



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A man carries blankets as Palestinian flee the Zeitun district of Gaza City after Israeli strikes on Jan. 12. AFP / Getty Images / Mahmud Hams



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A Palestinian woman carries a mattress from the rubble of a building in an area targeted by Israeli air strikes in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 12. Israeli warplanes pounded the homes of Hamas leaders and ground troops edged closer to the Gaza Strip's densely-populated urban center Monday, as Israel stepped up the pressure ahead of deciding whether to escalate its devastating two-week offensive. AP / Khaled Omar



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Palestinians unload food aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in al-Shati refugee camp on Jan. 13, in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Israel is intensifying its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State.Getty Images / Abid Katib



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Palestinians who fled their homes eat at a United Nations school where they are sheltering in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 12. Israeli warplanes pounded the homes of Hamas leaders and ground troops edged closer to the Gaza Strip's densely-populated urban center Monday, as Israel stepped up the pressure ahead of deciding whether to escalate its devastating two-week offensive. AP / Hatem Moussa



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Palestinian civil defence workers inspect a burnt car following an Israeli air strike at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Jan. 11, near the border with Egypt. Four Palestinians were wounded in the air raid, according to medics and witnesses. AFP / Getty Images / Said Khatib



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Palestinians react after hearing news about the death of their relatives, as they stand outside the morgue at Kamal Adwan hospital, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 13. Israeli troops advanced into Gaza suburbs for the first time Tuesday, residents said, hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Islamic militants that they face an "iron fist" unless they agree to Israeli terms for an end to war in the Gaza Strip. AP / Fadi Adwan



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A Palestinian doctor treats a wounded mother, daughter and son at the treatment room of Kamal Adwan hospital, following an Israeli air strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Jan. 13. AP / Fadi Adwan



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Palestinians salvage belongings from an apartment building following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 13. AP / Hatem Moussa



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Palestinian medics wheel a wounded man who according to Palestinian medical sources was injured in an Israeli strike, to Kamal Adwan hospital, in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Monday, Jan. 12. Israeli warplanes pounded the homes of Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and ground troops edged ever closer to the territory's densely-populated urban center Monday but reported casualties were low, an indication that Hamas was largely avoiding pitched battles with the advancing Israelis. AP / Fadi Adwan



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Palestinian Hisham Sarhi, center, helps other relatives to lower the body of his cousin Kamel, 22, killed in an Israeli strike Tuesday, over the body of Kamel's brother Moyhideen, killed in an Israeli air strike last May, at Sheikh Radwan cemetery in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 13. In crowded Gaza, relatives have always struggled to bury their dead. But Israel's shelling and deep ground incursion into the territory to crush militant group Hamas mean residents can't reach Martyrs Cemetery, Gaza City's only open graveyard on its eastern border with Israel, at a time when there's a rush of people needing burial. AP / Hatem Moussa



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