Washington/GAZA/Tel Aviv, May 20 -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday to press ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip, pushing back against calls from US President Joe Biden to wind down the operation that has left hundreds dead.

Netanyahu's tough comments marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began last week and could complicate international efforts to reach a ceasefire.

Israel continued to pound targets in Gaza with airstrikes, while Palestinian militants bombarded Israel with rocket fire throughout the day. In another sign of potential escalation, militants in Lebanon fired a rocket barrage into northern Israel.

After a visit to military headquarters,...