Children take cover from incoming rockets in
Children take cover from incoming rockets inReuters

A Palestinian official said that indirect negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza were expected to resume in Cairo on Sunday with an Israeli delegation scheduled to arrive in the city, where a Palestinian team and Egyptian mediators are waiting.

However, an Israeli official told AFP that talks could not take place until Palestinian rocket fire came to a halt.

"The Egyptian initiative was based on two stages in a consecutive order," he said on condition of anonymity.

"First, unconditional ceasefire, and after the implementation of an unconditional ceasefire there would be discussions in Cairo," he said. "The first stage has still not been implemented."

Britain, France and Germany on Saturday urged Israel and Hamas to agree a truce at once.

"We call upon all parties immediately to return to a ceasefire. We fully support the ongoing efforts by Egypt to this end," said the statement from foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France, Philip Hammond of Britain and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany.

Israeli officials, including Ministers Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid) said over the weekend that Israel may launch a strike aimed at killing the Hamas leadership. This type of operation is seen as an alternative to an attempt to fully conquer Gaza and remove all weapons from it. Hamas remains defiant, demanding that Israel agree to allow it to open its sea port. However, there are also reports that Hamas is willing to put the matter of the port on hold, and comtent itself with the reopening of the Rafah crossing, under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority headed by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.