Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has arrived in Gaza to show solidarity with Hamas militants who are fighting against Israel.

Qandil's visit comes amid an escalating conflict in the region which threatens to spiral out of control. He is being accompanied by a number of ministers, reports the local media.

They are reportedly trying to bring about a ceasefire in the volatile region.

Meanwhile, Israel has authorised deployment of nearly 30,000 reserve forces adding fuel to the conjecture that a ground offensive is on the cards. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) has also called on civilians to evacuate the conflict region; the IDF is said to have issued leaflets asking people to take cover.

Scores of tanks and armoured vehicles have been directed towards the border region as tension rises in the region.

"The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region. Shortly before dawn, I called President Obama and we discussed the need to put an end to this aggression and to ensure it does not happen again," Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said in a televised statement.

Tel Aviv has been hit by two rockets, one of which struck an uninhabited area while the other fell into the sea.

"Over the past several hours, 120 more rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel, making it more than 420 rockets hitting Israel since the beginning of the operation on November 14th," said the IDF.

The Israeli airstrike has killed not less than 19 Palestinians so far, a dozen of them civilians including children. Seven militants have also been killed.

Three Israelis have died in the retaliation by Palestinian rocket fire. Sounds of explosions and gunfire have been continuously heard in the region, according to reports.

"We here in Gaza will remain steadfast and unshaken. We are all confident in our intrepid resistance fighters who are now deployed on the front," Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement. He also called "upon the brothers in Egypt to take the measures that will deter the enemy".

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh wave to people in Gaza City (Reuters)Reuters
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