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Diplomatic efforts under way for truce in Gaza

Diplomatic efforts are gathering pace to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Islamist militant group Hamas as civilian casualties rise in the Palestinian autonomous enclave of Gaza.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday in an effort to broker a truce. Blair is the representative of the Middle East Quartet, comprised of the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia.

Sisi told Blair that Egypt is talking to both Israel and the Palestinians.

The Arab League is also planning to hold an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers on Monday in Cairo to discuss the situation.
On Saturday, the fifth day of Israel's military offensive, bombs struck a house believed to belong to relatives of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya. In a separate incident, bombs hit a facility for the mentally disabled in the north of Gaza. Two female inmates died in the attack.

Authorities in Gaza say 128 people have died and around 950 people have been injured since Israel started its aerial operation.

Hamas militants are continuing to fire rockets into Israeli territory, causing injuries to civilians.

Both sides are refusing to back down.

Jul. 12, 2014 - Updated 23:08 UTC