Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while affirming his support for diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire in Gaza, underscored that Israel would take "whatever actions" are necessary to defend itself.
Netanyahu made a brief statement beside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had flown to the Mideast on Tuesday to help advance diplomatic talks intended to avert an escalation of the weeklong conflict with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Clinton said the United States is pushing for a "durable outcome" promoting stability, but the cease-fire talks brokered by Egypt had failed to yield a truce as of late Tuesday, with Hamas reportedly saying an agreement won't come any earlier than Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, a senior Hamas official had told the AP that a truce agreement was within reach, while Reuters quoted an Israeli spokesman who said that while a cease-fire wasn't finalized, the "ball is still in play."
Reuters later quoted a Hamas official saying they "must wait until tomorrow," blaming Israel's failure to respond to proposals.