Abbas returns to the West Bank following air strikes

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis surrounding Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Mr Abbas cancelled planned meetings in Switzerland today to rush back to the West Bank.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has returned to the West Bank. Credit: Reuters

He lost control of Gaza to Hamas militants in 2007 and now governs only the West Bank, though he still claims to be president of all Palestinians.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat harshly condemned Israel's military operation, saying the Palestinians "hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of this act of aggression".

Israel launched the operation yesterday in response to repeated rocket attacks from Gaza.

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Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal

Egypt has announced a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas that is set to begin at 7pm UK time. The announcement was made by the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo alongside US Secretary if State Hillary Clinton.