A United Nations-run warehouse blazing after it was shelled by Israeli forces in Gaza City on Thursday. (Khaled Hasan/Bloomberg News)

Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.

Palestinians eat at a U.N. school where they are sheltering in northern Gaza. Intense fighting was reported near Gaza City as Israel tightened its cordon. (By Hatem Moussa -- Associated Press)

Israel's leaders debated Monday how and when to bring their 17-day-old offensive in Gaza to an end, as battles continued to rage on the edge of Gaza City and as Israeli reservists flowed into the territory, ready for a possible deeper push into urban areas .

Israeli soldiers advance near the border with central Gaza during ground operation - Reuters

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Thousands of Israeli troops backed by columns of tanks and helicopter gunships launched a ground offensive in Gaza on Saturday night, with officials saying they expected a lengthy fight in the densely populated territory after eight days of punishing airstrikes failed to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel.

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern town of Rafah. Israel hammered Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 210 people in retaliation for rocket fire in one of the bloodiest days of the decades-long Middle East conflict.

Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas installations across the Gaza Strip on Saturday and early Sunday in retaliation for rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. At least 225 Palestinians were killed and more than 400 wounded, Palestinian health officials reported, one of the highest daily death tolls in decades of conflict.

President-elect of the United States Barack Obama

Time magazine has given its annual Person of the Year award to US President-elect Barack Obama. Mr Obama was awarded the title "for having the confidence to sketch an ambitious future in a gloomy hour," said the US-based magazine. .

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Democratic Senator Barack Obama has been elected the first black president of the United States, prompting celebrations across the country.

"It's been a long time coming, but tonight... change has come to America," the president-elect told a jubilant crowd at a victory rally in Chicago.

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