Israeli Foreign Minister Denies Cease-fire Reports

Earlier today, Israel stopped airstrikes on Gaza for a five-hour "humanitarian window." Now, an Israeli official tells the BBC that an actual cease-fire deal has been reached with Hamas in Gaza. Update: Israel's Foreign Minister says that reports of a cease-fire deal are "as of now incorrect." According to the BBC, the supposed cease-fire would start at 6:00 a.m. local time on Friday.

It's not yet clear what the terms of the deal are, and neither Hamas nor Israel has made any official statement about accepting a deal.

As of yesterday, the conflict was escalating — The New York Times reported that an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza was "likely." Israel called up 8,000 reservists on Wednesday in addition to the 42,000 troops already deployed. An Israeli military official told the Times:

Every day that passes makes the possibility [of a ground invasion] more evident ... We can hurt [Hamas] very hard from the air but not get rid of them.

At least 227 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict so far. Yesterday, four Palestinian boys were killed in an Israeli strike while playing soccer on the beach. Reporters from multiple outlets were on the beach and witnessed the attack.

Israeli officials say Hamas militants did not respect the five-hour cease-fire today and fired at least three mortars into Israel. Officials also say they thwarted a Hamas attack on Israel hours before the cease-fire: 13 men were attempting to tunnel their way into a kibbutz. Hamas took credit for the "infiltration," though it's not clear from either side if all of the militants survived the mission.

During the cease-fire, Gaza residents left their homes to stock up on food and supplies. Resident Moussa Amran, 43, told the Associated Press, "The situation is likely to get worse because there is no clear way out of it."

[Image via AP]