Israel announced a more targeted approach in hunting down Hamas fighters and their leaders as its aerial assault pounded the Gaza Strip, forcing some displaced families to flee for safety riding donkey carts loaded with belongings and children.

Israeli shelling of Gaza on Thursday killed more than 20 Palestinians, including 16 in Khan Younis city in a southern coastal area packed with people who had fled from other parts of the enclave, Gaza health officials said.

Among the dead were nine children, they said. Separately, five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a car in Al-Nusseirat refugee camp, health officials said. Gaza residents said Israeli planes and tanks had also bombarded two other refugee camps, prompting many to head south.