The conflict between Israel and Gaza continues entering its 16th day and neither side is willing to respond to international calls for an immediate cease fire.

According to the Hamas leader in exile, Khaled Meshaal, his Islamist group would not consider a truce until Israel ended its military offensive and lifted a blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Attacks from both sides have intensified with both firing more rockets at one another.

The death toll has increased to 846 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Palestinian witnesses reported heavy fighting east of the city of Gaza where Hamas militants fired anti-tank missiles and mortar bombs at advancing Israeli forces who responded with tank shells and air strikes.

Israeli artillery shelling of two villages in the southern Gaza Strip killed a woman and set 15 houses on fire, medical workers and witnesses said. Some 50 people suffered from burns and gas inhalation, they said.

Israel has been accused by Human Rights Watch of using white-phosphorus munitions which can cause painful suffering through burns to Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli military has responded that it only uses weapons permitted under international law and has accuses Hamas militants of using Palestinian civilians as their shields.