Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses in the Gaza Strip early Friday, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons, while ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and center of the territory, Palestinian officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed dozens of sites were hit, including what it said were Hamas command posts, but did not elaborate.
With the current round of fighting entering its 18th day, Israel's Security Cabinet was to meet later Friday to decide whether to expand its operation or consider ideas for a cease-fire.
One plan calls for a five-day humanitarian truce during which Israel and Hamas would negotiate new border arrangements for blockaded Gaza, said Hana Amireh, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official in the West Bank, who is involved in cease-fire efforts.
Hamas has said it will not halt fire without international guarantees that Egypt and Israel will open Gaza's border crossings and end their seven-year-old border blockade. Israel and Egypt are reluctant to ease the blockade, fearing this will enable Hamas to tighten its grip on Gaza.
Israeli media reported that the military also wants more time to continue destroying rocket sites and tunnels from Gaza into Israel that Hamas has used to launch attacks. The military has found 31 tunnels but only destroyed about one-third of them so far.