As Troops Enter Gaza City, Israel Sees an Opening

JERUSALEM — Israeli troops pushed into a heavily populated area of Gaza City from the south on Sunday in fierce fighting, and senior Israeli officials said for the first time in the two-week-old war that they believed that the Hamas military wing was beginning to crack and that Hamas leaders inside Gaza were looking for a cease-fire.

In Jerusalem, Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told the nation that Israel was “getting close to achieving the goals it set for itself,” but that “more patience, determination and effort are still demanded.”