Gaza: Ceasefire 'in a day of two' says Hamas official but Netanyahu vows to 'continue'

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A top Hamas official has said a ceasefire is expected in the violence that has broken out over Gaza, despite Israel's Prime Minister vowing to "continue".

Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Lebanese station Mayadeen TV that he expected a cease-fire in a day or two.His comments come after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I am determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved - to restore peace and security to you, the citizens of Israel."

Netanyahu was responding to pressure from the US to end the airstrikes that have killed more than 200 people in the region.

ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy outlines the exchange between Biden and Netanyahu and what the fallout has been

Biden asked Netanyahu to move toward "the path to a cease-fire,” according to a White House description of their conversation.

The president's call comes as political and international pressure mounts on him to intervene more forcefully to push an end to the hostilities.

President Biden had, until Wednesday, avoided pressing Israel more directly and publicly for a cease-fire - or conveyed that level of urgency for ending Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in the thickly populated Gaza Strip.

The administration had relied instead on what officials described as “quiet, intensive” diplomacy, including quashing a UN Security Council statement that would have addressed a cease-fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Joe Biden on Wednesday. Credit: AP

The administration’s handling opened a divide between Biden and Democratic lawmakers, dozens of whom have called for a cease-fire.

Egypt and some others have worked without success to broker a halt to fighting, while Hamas officials indicated publicly they would keep up their rocket barrages into Israel as long Israel continued airstrikes.

Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who is based abroad, said this week that the group has been contacted by the United Nations, Russia, Egypt and Qatar as part of cease-fire efforts but “will not accept a solution that is not up to the sacrifices of the Palestinian people.”

Netanyahu had given no sign of plans to immediately wind down Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas leaders and supply tunnels in Gaza, a 25-mile by 6-mile strip of territory that is home to more than 2 million people.

Watch: A guide to what's behind the recent escalation in violence

The fighting, the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence since 2014, has killed at least 219 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel.

The latest strikes came as diplomatic efforts aimed at a cease-fire gathered strength and Gaza’s infrastructure, already weakened by a 14-year blockade, rapidly deteriorated.

Medical supplies, water and fuel for electricity are running low in territory, on which Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007.