Israel pounds Gaza as mediators try to rescue truce

Gaza City - Israeli warplanes pummelled Gaza with 50 air strikes that killed seven Palestinians on Saturday as militants slammed 23 rockets into Israel, defying international efforts to find a fresh ceasefire.

Britain, France and Germany on Saturday called in a joint statement for Israel and Hamas to agree a truce "immediately".

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through central London and Cape Town, condemning Israel's one-month military assault into Gaza.

Gaza emergency services said seven men were killed in Israeli raids - two in a car driving in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, two travelling by motorcycle through Al-Maghazi refugee camp and three pulled from the rubble of Al-Qassam mosque in the middle of the enclave.

The Palestinian interior ministry said Israeli jets destroyed three mosques. At least two of them were considered close to Hamas.

Gazan Ibrahim Taweel said the Israeli military telephoned him at 03:00, warning him to evacuate his nearby home five minutes before the mosque was attacked.

"I couldn't tell all my neighbours, so I evacuated myself and my neighbour and after five minutes an F-16 fired one rocket and after that a bigger rocket destroyed the mosque," he said.

The army said 23 rockets rained on Israel, bringing to 61 the number of projectiles launched at the Jewish state since a 72-hour truce ended on Friday.

One Israeli civilian and a soldier were wounded on Friday.

Israel said it had carried out more than 100 strikes in Gaza since Friday morning, 49 of them on Saturday, targeting those responsible for the rocket fire.