The Israeli cabinet had approved the ceasefire, proposed by Egypt, but Hamas rejected the proposal saying it favoured Israel. Hamas also says it was not consulted when the ceasefire was formulated, only learning about it through media reports.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he would have preferred to solve the issue diplomatically but Hamas’s refusal to observe the ceasefire left them no choice but to intensify attacks on Gaza.
The week-long conflict has claimed more than 190 Palestinian lives and left more than 1400 injured. Israel recorded its first death in the exchange on Tuesday when one man was killed by a rocket strike. Ten people were injured.
Hamas has demanded that Israel cease its offensive on Gaza, ease restrictions on its borders and release 51 Palestinians, freed in a 2011 prisoner swap, but re-arrested during the search for three missing Israeli teens last month.— Compiled from internet and agency sources by Mohammad Rassa
Top photo of Mr Netanyahu from the Israel Defense Forces Flickr photostream.