According to an unnamed Hamas officials, a ceasefire could be declared in the coming few hours between the Hamas movement in Gaza and Israel, under direct Egyptian mediation.According to a BBC report, Egyptian mediators held extensive talks with Israeli and Hamas officials, and managed to reach an agreement for a ceasefire that would be declared in a matter of hours.

The deal is meant to stop Israeli hostilities and ongoing bombardment targeting different parts of the besieged and improvised coastal region, and to stop the firing of shells from Gaza into adjacent Israeli areas.

On Thursday evening, Hamas and Israel traded accusations and threats of a larger escalation in the region, while Israel claimed its offensive is “only meant to stop the firing of shells from Gaza”, while Hamas and other armed groups said that the shells were fired it retaliation to the ongoing Israeli aggression.

Israel even deployed more tanks and troops near the border with Gaza, amidst ongoing air strikes and bombardment

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said Israel’s threats, and the deployment of its soldiers, do not scare it, and vowed a fierce battle should Israel conduct further escalation on Gaza, or attempt to invade it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to wage an extended war on Gaza, and said that Israel is ready for two scenarios; “calm and end to rocket fire from Gaza, or a military operation with full force to secure cities in southern Israel”, the Arabs48 news website has reported.

Netanyahu’s statements came during a dinner marking America’s Independence, with the American ambassador at his home, near Tel Aviv, Israeli sources said.

On Thursday evening, the Israeli Security Cabinet of the Knesset decided that Israel would refrain from conducting a large-scale offensive on Gaza should calm be restored, adding that “the coming 24 hours would be very instrumental in determining the exact nature and volume of Israel’s retaliation.”

During a press conference held on Thursday evening in Gaza, Abu Obeida, spokesperson of the al-Qassam Brigades, said the brigades and all armed groups in Gaza are ready for all possible scenarios.

“The Israeli threats do not scare us, the enemy will be taught a tough lesson,” Abu Obeida stated. “Israel needs to realize that former wars Israel waged on Gaza will be nothing comparing to what he have prepared and planned for the upcoming battle.”