In a statement, the Israeli military said, "The mosque was used as a storage site for a large amount of Grad missiles and additional weaponry. The strike set off a lengthy series of secondary explosions and a large fire, caused by the munitions stockpiled in the mosque." Grad rockets are longer-range weapons in Hamas' arsenal.
Throughout the day Israeli television ran video of the airstrike and enormous post-strike explosions in Jabaliya.
Sources in Gaza say that the death toll has now climbed to 422, with 2,070 wounded. The rising body count has not swayed Israel's determination to end the threat of Hamas rockets or Washington's support for the operation, at least publicly.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe echoed that sentiment, saying: "We're not seeing Hamas stop its rocket attacks and, you know, that's something we're going to need to see them do."
Johndroe hinted at a prolonged Israeli offensive. "They've signaled that this is not an operation that they're going to stop right now because they have to protect their people," he said.
Johndroe declined to say whether the White House expected or supported a ground attack by Israel. "I don't want to speak to an operation that has not taken place, that may or may not take place," he said.
The United Nations' World Food Program said today that it would begin an emergency distribution of bread in Gaza because a food shortage is developing.
"The current situation in Gaza is appalling and many basic food items are no longer available on the market," said WFP representative Christine van Nieuwenhuyse.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is heading to New York Monday when Arab countries hope to present a motion at the United Nations Security Council condemning Israel for its bombing of Gaza and calling for a cease-fire. Abbas and his Fatah Party govern in the West Bank, but have no authority in Gaza which is run by Hamas.
The growing number of civilian dead, especially children, prompted Israelis officials today to reveal that Rayyan and his family had received a "roof knocking" alert, giving them time to escape before the Israeli jets dropped a 2,000 pound bomb on the house.
Rayyan reportedly ignored the warning, and subsequently killed in the explosion were Rayyan and 15 members of his family -- his four wives, six sons and five daughters
An official who did not want to be identified said Israeli intelligence knew Rayyan and his large family were in the house. The intelligence called the home and told the occupants they had minutes to leave.
The Israeli official said that surveillance aircraft spotted several people leaving the home and the decision to hit it was made. The decision to destroy the house had to be made quickly because the Israelis had strong suspicions that it was being used as a storage site for weapons and they didn't want to give those inside enough time to move the weapons, the official said.
Jonathan Peled, Israeli Embassy spokesman in Washington, said "the multiple secondary explosions that resulted from the attack confirm that Rayyan's house functioned as a weapons storage facility." Peled said the house also served as a communications center and had an escape tunnel beneath it for Hamas terrorists.