Israel says it hopes to pull all its troops out of Gaza by the time Barack Obama is sworn in as US President.
An Israeli government spokesman dismissed claims by Hamas that the group had emerged victorious after the three week offensive, in which more than 1200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed: “Our intelligence information is crystal clear, the Hamas military machine has sustained significant blows. Their leadership is in a state of shock and that probably explains some of their delusional language.” said spokesperson Mark Regev. Thousands of Israeli troops have already left Gaza but large contingents remain close to the border on the Israeli side, ready to re-enter if violence reignites. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Gaza later today, while EU Foreign Ministers plan to meet in Brussels to discuss humanitarian aid and Israel’s demand for the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza.