Eight people have been killed in a flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
More than 460 rockets have been fired into Israel by militants since Monday night, while Israeli aircraft have hit 160 militant targets in response.
Seven Palestinians, several of them militants, died in the strikes on Gaza, while a Palestinian civilian was killed in a rocket attack in southern Israel.
Later, Palestinian militant groups said Egypt had brokered a ceasefire.
The military wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates Gaza, said it would “abide by this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy commits to it”. Israeli media quoted the official as saying: “Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators.
“Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [how it proceeds].”
The escalation began when an undercover Israeli special forces operation inside Gaza was exposed on Sunday. A Hamas commander was among seven militants killed in clashes, and an Israeli lieutenant-colonel in the undercover unit also died.
Recently there had been signs that the UN and Egypt had made progress in an effort to secure a truce on the Gaza border, where more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in protests since March.
The Israeli military has been accused of using excessive force against protesters, but has said its soldiers have only opened fire in self-defence or on potential attackers trying to infiltrate its territory.
SOURCE : BBC ENGLISH