Israeli security sources reported on Tuesday that the Israeli army intends to lower the scale of military operations targeting the Gaza Strip in coming days in order to avoid any possible escalation in the region during the Israeli holidays. Israeli radio reported that despite the tragic accident in Beit Hanoun on Monday, which left seven civilians dead, including four children, Hamas will not create an escalation. Rather than to militarily engage Israel for the time being, the movement has decided to wait for the Egyptian mediation efforts to broker a truce between Hamas and Israel.

The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli daily newspaper, quoted Israeli army officials saying that American and Egyptian officials have been putting tremendous pressure on Israel in recent days to achieve a truce between Israel and the Hamas movement in Gaza prior to US President George W. Bush’s visit to Israel in mid-May.