Gaza conflict: Heavy shelling continues as Clinton seeks truce

Hillary Clinton

8.12am:

Hamas ministry destroyed

Hamas's main ministry in Gaza has been destroyed, says the BBC's Paul Danahar.

7.54am:

Summary

Welcome to Middle East Live. Here is a round-up of the latest developments:

Israel/Gaza conflict

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has met the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem to try to bring about an end to the fighting after hopes of a ceasefire were dashed on Tuesday nightShe is heading to the West Bank for talks with Palestinians today. Hamas officials and the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, had predicted that a truce was imminent on Tuesday but it failed to materialise.

Diplomats said a tentative two-stage ceasefire arrangement over a 48 hour period, was close to being agreed according to the New York Times.

But it seemed that each side had steep demands of a longer-term deal that the other side would reject.

Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, said in Cairo that Israel needed to end its blockade of Gaza. Israel says the blockade keeps arms from entering the coastal strip.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said Israel saw no point in an arrangement that offered Hamas what he called “a timeout to regroup” without long-term guarantees involving the United States and Egypt. Some Israeli officials have spoken of a bigger buffer zone along the Gaza border.

• Israel stepped up its bombardment of Gaza from air and sea overnight with munitions slamming into Gaza at a rate of one every 10 minutes at one point. Gazan rocket fire resumed before dawn today with six launches, Israel said. No one was hurt. 

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Israeli military offensive against Gaza. Medical officials in Gaza said 31 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, taking the total to 138, including 34 children. The Sabbah report put the number dead at 132.

• Two Israelis were killed on Tuesday, a soldier and a civilian contractor. Their deaths brought the total number of Israelis killed by Gazan rocket fire since the start of the Israeli military operation to five.

Hamas executed six suspected informants for Israel on a Gaza street on Tuesday. The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, claimed responsibility in a large handwritten note attached to a nearby electricity pole. Hamas said the six were killed because they gave Israel information about fighters and rocket launching sites.

Syria

Britain has formally recognised the newly united Syrian opposition as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Syrian people and promised new aid for the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. William Hague made the announcement in a statement to MPs on Tuesday.

Bahrain

Amnesty International has accused Bahrain of increasing its crackdown on dissent and failing to implement promised human rights reforms. In a new briefing it said: "The authorities in Bahrain do not have the will to take the steps necessary to reform. Protestations to the contrary only underscore the gap between their rhetoric and reality."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Haroon Siddique and Matthew Weaver, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 21st November 2012 07.55 Europe/London

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image: © Center for American Progress Action Fund