Barack Obama phoned leaders in the Middle East to push for an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire on Monday night as the US navy was reported to be deploying three ships to the eastern Mediterranean in case American citizens had to be evacuated from Israel.
Efforts to agree a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians are to intensify, with the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, weighing in amid guarded optimism that a deal is possible because it suits both sides to end the fighting.
Rupert Murdoch has stirred up controversy with a tweet about the conflict in Gaza.
The war in Gaza appears to be in a grim holding pattern, poised before the alternatives of a ceasefire or a ground offensive by Israeli tanks and troops.
President Barack Obama has personally urged leaders in Turkey and Egypt to engage with Hamas over a "de-escalation" of hostilities in Gaza, while continuing to support Israeli strikes despite mounting Palestinian civilian casualties.
Israel has launched a military operation to eliminate militants and weapon sites in the Gaza Strip, killing the commander of Hamas's military wing, in a move with potentially serious repercussions beyond its borders.
A cluster of small, concrete buildings stands in the parched landscape of the Egyptian Sinai, not far from the border with Israel. Nothing but sand and a few determined shrubs lie between them and distant jagged mountains.