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Small anti-Israeli demonstrations occurred in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and stun grenades. And in Iran, a close Hamas ally, thousands of people took to the streets in the capital Tehran. The demonstrators carried banners denouncing Israel. They chanted “Death to the U.S.” and “Death to Israel.”

In Europe, reaction was mixed. Germany held Hamas responsible and urged Egypt to pressure the Islamists to halt the violence, while Britain cautioned Israel against launching a ground offensive.

“When Israel has entered into ground invasions in other conflicts that is when they have lost a good deal of international sympathy and support, and of course civilian casualties become much harder to avoid in that situation,” Foreign Minister William Hague told reporters in London.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon announced plans to visit the Mideast region soon in a bid to reduce tensions, but his spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to discuss specific sites, countries or dates for the visit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared determined to move forward. “The Israeli military “continues to strike hard against Hamas and is prepared to expand its action into Gaza,” he said.

At least 27 Palestinians, including 14 militants and six children, as well as three Israelis have been killed in the fighting — a relatively low toll compared to the beginning of Israel’s previous major offensive against Hamas four years ago. Netanyahu has said the air force is trying to strike surgically and avoid harm to civilians.

The 4-year-old boy whose body had been handed to Kandil and Haniyeh was killed along with a young man earlier Friday when an Israeli missile struck close to their homes in the town of Jebaliya near Gaza City, relatives said.

The area near the boy’s home showed signs that a projectile had exploded there, with shrapnel marks in the walls of surrounding homes and shattered kitchen windows. But neighbors said security officials quickly took what remained of the projectile, making it impossible to verify who fired it.

Kandil’s visit came after a night of fierce exchanges, with dozens of rocket barrages setting off sirens throughout southern Israel, an area with a population of about 1 million.

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Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City contributed to this report.