UPDATE 7/29 6:15am

(Undated)  --  Israel pounded dozens of targets in Gaza today as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state needs to prepare for a long fight against the Palestinian group Hamas.  The Israeli military says it hit 70 targets overnight.  At least 40 people are reported killed in Gaza.  Israel says five of its soldiers were killed in a battle with militants who crossed into Israel through a tunnel near the Gaza border.  

Israeli aircraft flattened the home of the Hamas leader in Gaza.  No one was injured.  An energy authority official in Gaza says Israeli shelling knocked out the territory's only electrical plant.  The shutdown of the plant will completely cut electricity to the one-point-seven-million residents in the region.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and the Palestinians are trading blame for an attack on a park in Gaza today that the Palestinians say killed at least 10 people, including children.

The head of an emergency room at a nearby hospital says children were playing on a swing when the strike hit the park in a refugee camp in the edge of Gaza City. It happened a few minutes after the hospital's outpatient clinic was hit, leaving several people wounded.

Gaza officials say the deaths and injuries were caused by Israeli airstrikes.

But an Israeli army spokesman says Israel wasn't involved -- and that the sites were hit by rockets fired by Gaza militants that fell short of their targets in Israel.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is demanding an end to the violence in Gaza "in the name of humanity" and is accusing the leaders of Israel and Hamas of being irresponsible and "morally wrong" for letting their people get killed.

Ban urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Monday to demonstrate "political will" and "compassionate leadership" to end the suffering.

The U.N. chief reinforced the U.N. Security Council's call early Monday morning for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire."

Ban said "Gaza is in critical condition" after pummeling by Israeli forces that has killed helpless civilians and raised "serious questions about proportionality."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama administration officials are fuming over Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In unusually harsh language, officials say the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also say the personal attacks on Kerry cross a line and are particularly disappointing at a time of active conflict.

Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey into the cease-fire negotiations. Both countries are viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters.

The U.S. officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter on the record by name. White House national security adviser Susan Rice is expected to address the situation in the Middle East later Monday.