Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday, state news agency MENA said, amid concerted efforts to end the deadly conflict in Gaza.
The meeting in Cairo comes after a five-hour truce agreed by Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, the dominant faction in Gaza, came into force. The brief lull in ten days of fighting was brokered by the United Nations to allow supplies to be delivered to Gaza residents amid hostilities that have killed at least 227 Palestinians, medics said, most of them civilians.
Abbas on Wednesday met Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, as well as Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq, who was resolute on demanding changes to an Egyptian ceasefire initiative, including lifting the blockade on the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Egypt had proposed a permanent ceasefire plan on Tuesday, which Israel initially accepted but later intensified its air strikes after Hamas snubbed the plan, saying it had not been consulted.
The Israeli army then launched fresh air offensives after militants fired dozens of rockets from Gaza, killing an Israeli for the first time on Tuesday.
Most of the Palestinian projectiles have crashed on open ground or been intercepted by the Iron Dome.
On Wednesday, Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, on his second visit to Cairo this week, held talks with El-Sisi to discuss Egypt's truce efforts to end the bloodshed.
Blair, the former British prime minister, supported Egypt's plan to bring about a ceasefire, saying it was "the only available means to end the bloodshed, stop fire and create the climate for a serious political process that paves the way for comprehensive peace."
Egypt's initiative urges a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 ceasefire deal that ended eight days of fighting, as well as loosening border restrictions on the blockaded Gaza Strip.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said the US supported Egypt's continued efforts to restore the 2012 ceasefire and would use all of its diplomatic resources and relationships to secure a deal to end the violence.
On Wednesday, an Israeli gunboat off Gaza's Mediterranean coast shelled a beach, killing four boys – two aged ten and the others 9 and eleven – a health official said.