Israel-Palestine ceasefire rumours denied
Rumours that a ceasefire been agreed between Israel and Hamas emerged today, only to be contradicted by representatives from both sides.
A senior official in Israel told Reuters news agency that a deal had finally been agreed at peace talks in Egypt, which would take effect at 6am local time tomorrow, Friday 18 July.
It follows more than a week of intensified violence in the region, which has seen one Israeli and an estimated 227 Palestinians killed during air strikes. The Palestinian deaths include those of four young children – cousins, aged between 9 and 11 – who were killed while playing on a beach yesterday.
The Israeli President, Shimon Peres, has since apologised for the children's deaths, describing it as "an accident".
However, tomorrow's supposed ceasefire has not yet been confirmed by Egyptian authorities, and according to the BBC, Hamas, which controls Gaza, has denied that a deal was agreed.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has reportedly also denied that an agreement was reached, insisting that the details of the deal are still being examined and it has not yet been voted on.
A five-hour humanitarian ceasefire was meant to take place this morning, July 17, but was allegedly broken by the Palestinians, who Israel say continued to fire three mortar shells over the border.
The complexity of the situation has confounded much of the international community. A pastor in East Jerusalem pastor told the Christian Post: "The Christians in the West, most of them, they don't know the realities here".
"They don't know who is occupying who, who is oppressing who, who is confiscating whose land, who is building walls to try and separate people from one another," Alex Awad insisted.
"In the United States and much of Europe people — they just don't understand the realities on the ground."