But late in the evening, the radical islamic hamas, which rules the gaza strip, announced via twitter that there would be no agreement with israel on tuesday to end the violence.
"So far there is no agreement on a deal, and there won’t be one tonight either. All options are open. Our people and our resistance are prepared for all eventualities," wrote hamas political bureau member isat rischek.
Earlier, a spokesman for israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu said there was no agreement so far. Corresponding hopes had been raised by the agyptian president mohammed mursi, who mediates between the two sides.
Originally, even the radical islamic palestinian organization islamic jihad had announced a press conference with hamas and the egyptian mediators for the evening. The second israeli television had also reported confidently that at 20.00 CET a ceasefire was to be declared in cairo. But time passed without the corresponding announcement.
The airstrikes on the gaza strip continued this evening with unabated ferocity. Casualties also rose on the israeli side. Earlier, the israeli air force launched a new offensive that killed at least 16 palastinians. An israeli soldier and a civilian were also killed tuesday. With it, attacks killed 133 people in gaza and five in israel. Nearly 1000 people were injured, most of them palastinians.
Already in the afternoon agypt’s president mursi had announced the ceasefire: "the israeli attack on the gaza strip will end today. The efforts for a ceasefire between the palestinian and the israeli side will bring positive results in the next hours."
Israeli radio had speculated that the cease-fire was likely to be announced during U.S. Secretary of state hillary clinton’s visit to israel late tuesday evening.
The agreement was based on the fact that representatives of israel, agypt and the united states would monitor the ceasefire, he said. The israeli radio station reported this afternoon, citing the government in jerusalem, that the agreement will guarantee the people of southern israel at least one to two years of security from attacks.
Israeli air force bombed various targets in gaza and beit hanun in the northern gaza strip, according to eyewitnesses. The attacks began just as a 56-member delegation of arab ministers and diplomats was passing through gaza city on a solidarity visit. They included arab league secretary general nabil al-arabi and turkish auben minister ahmet davutoglu.
According to palastinian reports, two cameramen from a hamas television station were also killed in the bombardment. The air force had attacked their car, although it had been marked as a press vehicle. Israel confirmed only the air strikes.
Clinton was joined on tuesday by german foreign minister guido westerwelle and un secretary-general ban ki moon in their efforts to de-escalate the situation in the middle east. Westerwelle buried the planned ceasefire. "If this is confirmed, it would be very good news," he said in cairo this evening. "Perhaps this will provide a window of opportunity that can be used to achieve a viable cease-fire." But he also warned: "the work is not done yet."
The german auben minister had decided on tuesday at short notice to continue his journey to agypt. Earlier, he met with netanyahu, israel’s president shimon peres and palastinian president mahmud abbas. During his visit to jerusalem, sirens wailed because of an air alert. A rocket from the gaza strip hit outside the city, according to police reports.
At a press conference with ban ki moon in jerusalem, netanyahu presented his country as a "partner for a long-term solution". At the same time, however, he warned that israel could return to military measures at any time if the rocket attacks by palestinian militants did not come to an end.
After a relatively quiet night, israeli cities were again shelled on tuesday. According to military reports, an 18-year-old soldier was hit by rocket fragments in the negev desert and died of his injuries. A 33-year-old bedouin was also killed. In beerscheva, a house was hit directly, police said. In the city of ashkelon, a man was seriously injured.
In gaza city, hamas members publicly executed six palastinians for alleged collaboration with israel. The victims were shot on the road without a court hearing, eyewitnesses reported. Afterwards, the bodies were left lying for onlookers to see.
The human rights organization amnesty international called on the united nations to impose an immediate arms embargo on israel, hamas and other armed groups in the gaza strip and to send international monitors to the region. The international red cross (icrc) expressed concern about the many civilian casualties.