Israeli air strikes killed at least eight Palestinians in the Gaza today, while Hamas militants kept up their cross-border rocket fire.

People in Gaza said they received new recorded messages on mobile phones and landlines saying Israel would target any house used to launch "terror attacks" and telling civilians to leave areas used by militants.

Israeli aircraft attacked four homes in the town of BeitL ahiya, near the Israeli border, killing two women and a girl, witnesses and health officials said.

Locals said a member of the Hamas militant group that dominates Gaza lived in one of the dwellings.

Five other Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes, including three men in an attack on a car, officials said.

More than 80 rockets have been launched at southern Israel today, causing no casualties, the army said.             

Palestinian health officials say 2,122 people, most of them civilians, including more than 400 children, have been killed in Gaza since 8 July, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending rocket fire into its territory.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

Gazans said they had received messages on their phones for several days, with a new recording today ending with the words: "To Hamas leaders and to the residents of Gaza: The battle is open and you have been warned."

Qais Abu Leila, a senior Palestinian official involved in Egyptian-mediated talks to reach a truce, said Egypt had proposed an indefinite ceasefire.

The latest initiative calls for the immediate opening of Gaza's crossings with Israel and Egypt to aid reconstruction efforts in the battered coastal territory, to be followed by talks on a longer-term easing of the blockade.

"Egyptian efforts are continuing. The ball is in the Israeli court, and they have not responded to this proposal 36 hours after it was referred to them," Abu Leila said.             

Hamas has said it will not stop fighting until the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the enclave of 1.8 million people is lifted.

Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the economically-crippled territory.

Israel recalled its negotiators from Cairo last Tuesday after a ceasefire collapsed.