Reuters reports: Israel resumed air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after agreeing to an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.
The week-old conflict seemed to be at a turning point, with Hamas defying Arab and Western calls to cease fire and Israel threatening to step up a week-old offensive that could include an invasion of the densely populated enclave of 1.8 million.
Under a blueprint announced by Egypt – Gaza’s neighbour and whose military-backed government has been at odds with Islamist Hamas – a mutual “de-escalation” was to have begun at 9 a.m. (0600 GMT), with hostilities ceasing within 12 hours.
Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, rejected the ceasefire deal, a proposal that addressed in only general terms some of its key demands, and said its battle with Israel would “increase in ferocity and intensity”.
But Moussa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas political official who was in Cairo, said the movement, which is seeking a deal that would ease Egyptian and Israeli border restrictions throttling Gaza’s economy, had made no final decision on Cairo’s proposal. [Continue reading…]