Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses in the Gaza Strip early Friday, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons, as Israel’s Security Cabinet was to decide whether to expand its operation or consider ideas for a cease-fire.

Israeli ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and center of the territory, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said it hit 45 sites in Gaza, including what it said was a Hamas military command post, while Gaza militants continued to fire dozens of rockets at Israel, with one hitting an empty house. […]