Egypt says it has proposed a ceasefire to end the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has killed scores of Palestinians in the last week, in the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict.
Officials say 185 people have been killed in the attacks by the Israeli military on the densely-populated strip, which was intended to stop rocket fire into Israel but has prompted Hamas militants to fire hundreds at the country in response.
The Egyptian proposal calls for a ceasefire from today followed by a summit in Cairo with "high-level" delegations from both sides.
While the Israeli security cabinet is reported to have accepted the offer earlier this morning, Hamas' military wing has called it a "surrender".
Israel has launched more than 1,300 strikes on the Strip, while around 1,000 rockets have been launched from Gaza into the Israeli heartland.
So far, no Israeli fhave been killed, with the "Iron Dome" missile defence shield intercepting many of the rockets fired into the country.
A Hamas official told the AFP news agency that a political agreement had to be reached before a ceasefire could take effect.
"A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," said spokesperson Fawzi Barhum.
Barack Obama said he welcomed the Egyptian proposal, adding the deaths of Palestinian civilians was a "tragedy".
"We're going to continue to do everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 ceasefire," he said. "The status quo is unsustainable".
He added: "No country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens."Suggest a correction