Hamas field commander Ahmad Abu Galala was killed Friday, according to Hamas officials, and Israel's military reported that fellow senior Hamas operative Kahlid Shahyer was also targeted.
But despite what Oren describes as great pains by Israel not to hurt innocents -- including warning Gaza residents in phone calls and leaflets -- scores of civilian casualties have been reported.
In Gaza City, for example, a neighbor at al-Shifa Hospital held the body Friday of 4-year-old Mahmoud Sadalah, who his father described as "very sweet" and intelligent. The boy is among eight children killed in the recent violence, medical sources in Gaza said.
At least 101 children and 96 women have been injured in Israeli strikes, a figure that does not include carnage from new attacks late Friday night, said Dr. Mufeed Mkhallalati, the Palestinian health minister.
"As a doctor, as a human, I am crying," a doctor at al-Shifa Hospital said. "I can't do anything for him, because I know he's died. ... And you can't imagine if it's your baby, how do you feel he's a terrorist? Why?"
Egypt vows 'not to leave Gaza alone'
With its attacks, Israel is denying Palestinians their rights and efforts to establish an independent state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday.
"This is an aggression against all Palestinian people," he said.
He cited the deaths of two babies as a result of Israeli airstrikes. One was the 11-month-old son of a BBC journalist in Gaza, BBC Foreign Editor Jon Williams said.
Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil got a firsthand look Friday at destruction while on a tour with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
His rhetoric toward Israel was diplomatic, though his voice was halting as he struggled to get his words out after seeing a dead year-old boy.
"No one can remain still and watch this tragedy unfold in this fashion," Kandil said. "This is impossible. The whole world must intervene, and Israel must abide by the agreements and stop the aggression."
The armed conflict is likely to further erode Israel's fragile relationship with Egypt, which recalled its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday in protest over the ongoing strikes. It also delivered a formal protest to the Israeli government.
"Egypt will not leave Gaza alone, and what is happening there is a blatant aggression against humanity," said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy.
His Cabinet chief noted, however, that Egypt's peace treaty with Israel is safe.
"But respecting a peace treaty does not mean to stay idle or indifferent to what is going on along our borders," said Mohamed Refa'a al-Tahtawi, who promised "medical, logistical and humanitarian" support for Palestinians.