The largest Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip in the last seven years saw the most intense attacks on Friday.
Artillery and tanks added hundreds of volleys to missiles fired from 600 fighter jets at Hamas bases and its network of kilometers of underground passageways.
The crushing assault, which reached its climax in the early hours of the morning, raised the death toll - including 31 children and 20 women - in the enclave to 126 since Monday.
Gaza's militias have launched more than 2,000 rockets, which have killed seven civilians and one soldier in Israel.
A deluge of fire fell for more than 40 minutes at the beginning of the fifth day of hostilities.
During the day, the two sides continued with the routine of massive bombardments on a densely populated Palestinian territory, on the Israeli side, and waves of rocket salvoes fired indiscriminately against areas inhabited by militias.
Keys to understanding the conflict between Israel and Palestine
Israel launches large-scale air and artillery offensive against Gaza
A mother and her three children were found in the rubble of a Gaza home. The Israeli Army assures that between 80 and 90 of those killed in the enclave during the operation are Hamas or Palestinian Jihad militiamen. Data that does not coincide with those provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which in less than an hour of general offensive had counted a dozen deaths at dawn. The official army spokesman assured that the massive artillery and tank fire had been directed at precise Hamas targets to minimize collateral damage to civilians.
The main objective of the coordinated attack was the destruction of much of the internal tunnel network, made up of kilometers of passageways, through which Hamas fighters travel to rocket launch pads and attack posts in the vicinity of the dividing line with Israel, according to a military spokesman.
200 homes destroyed
The Gaza media reported on social media that many attacks had hit multi-story high buildings for civilian use.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs specified that more than 200 homes have been seriously damaged in the war operations.
While tens of thousands of Israeli residents in the areas bordering the Strip spend entire days in bomb shelters, Gazans, lacking bomb coats, have fled south from the coastal enclave or taken refuge in schools it runs. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
The Security Cabinet, the government body that makes key decisions in the event of war, approved on Thursday night to intensify land military actions from the border of the Strip, without authorizing for the moment a land penetration offensive with troops in the interior of Gaza.
The course of the so-called Operation Guardian of the Walls is at the expense of an incipient mediation by Egypt between the fighting parties.
The intelligence service of the Egyptian Army led an attempt to dialogue to agree a ceasefire starting at midnight this Friday, without any of the parties having yet confirmed their willingness to stop the fighting.
Qatar also participates in the mediation, which supports with its financial aid services such as the electricity supply of Gaza, and the United Nations.
The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has called for an immediate truce to be negotiated to "prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening."
US diplomat Hady Amro, head of Israeli and Palestinian affairs at the State Department, arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday in the first intervention by the Administration of President Joe Biden since the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said this Friday that they are following the evolution of the current escalation of violence in case the armed actions may constitute war crimes that would be included in the investigation already opened in The Hague against Israel and Hamas by the open war that both sides fought in 2014.
The violence spread this Friday also to the West Bank, where a dozen Palestinians lost their lives in clashes between protesters and members of the Israeli Armed Forces.