The war in Gaza is expected to end within hours. Israeli leaders are planning to end their bombardment without any agreement with Hamas, after more than three weeks of fighting which has left much of Gaza in ruins.
A unilateral ceasefire depends on whether Israel considers it has destroyed enough of the many tunnels into Gaza from Egypt. When Hamas banished its rival Fatah in 2007, Israel sealed the frontier, forcing Hamas to smuggle food and weapons – including rockets – under the border with Egypt. Washington has agreed to help stop the cross-border trade, although Cairo insists it has no plans to participate. The Israeli security cabinet will meet this evening. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is said to support an unilateral ceasefire but other ministers have been divided over how to conduct such a move. Olmert and his Defence Minister Ehud Barak are due to give a news conference after the cabinet meeting.