A 72-hour ceasefire agreed on last night by Israel and Hamas already appears to be falling apart.
The halt, brokered by the US and the EU, was due to take effect at 8am this morning local time. But within two hours, mortar shells had been fired from Gaza, landing near a town by the border, and Israeli forces had returned fire.
As the conflict in Gaza entered its fourth week and the prospects of a ceasefire looked slim, the Israeli security cabinet was split over whether to expand the operation and strike at the Hamas leadership or to continue a limited action to eradicate the terror group's tunnels.
the complex politics of the Middle East. The country's control of an estimated 14 per cent of the world's known reserves of natural gas has allowed it to buy itself a seat at the top tables of global diplomacy.