In the first attack early on Sunday, Palestinians said Israeli aircraft bombed a mosque near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Two bodies were retrieved from the rubble. The blast, just after midnight, blew out windows at the hospital, hospital officials said.
Another target early on Sunday was the Al Aqsa TV station used by Hamas. Its studio building was destroyed, but the station remained on air with a mobile unit.
Palestinians counted about 20 airstrikes in the first hours of Sunday.
Ha’aretz also reports that:
Hundreds of Israeli infantry and armored corps troops headed for the Gaza border early Sunday in preparation for a possible ground invasion, military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity under army guidelines.
Asked whether Israel would follow up the air strikes with a ground offensive, Barak said, "If boots on the ground will be needed, they will be there."
"Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game," he said.
Israel’s plans to not simply stage a quick, narrow strike but to “change the rules” follows what Ha’aretz today reported was a six month preparation period:
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
So much for good faith negotiations.
Meanwhile the White House issued a statement with their usual diplomatic flair:
Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, was responsible for the outbreak of violence and called its rocket attacks ”completely unacceptable. These people are nothing but thugs,” he said. “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.”
And, according to Ynet News:
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued a statement concerning the Israeli operation in Gaza in which she wrote that "When Israel is attacked, the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally."
Sounds like Speaker Pelosi needs to hear from us – (202) 225-0100.
Video: International Solidarity Movement eyewitness video of the Saturday attacks.