Israel continued its bombardment of Gaza in the final hours before a US and Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took hold at 9pm on 21 November.

Hamas, which governs Gaza and has been held responsible by the Israelis for more than 800 rocket attacks on its territory in the previous week, claimed a hollow victory in an eight-day battle that left more than 150 Palestinians dead.

Israel also declared the incursion a success, claiming it had destroyed more than 1,500 Hamas military installations and other infrastructure supporting the rocket attacks.

Providing regular updates through its twitter feed, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) claimed it had successfully destroyed various rocket-making facilities in the Strip.

In one operation alone on 21 November, the IDF claimed that “more than 100 terror sites were targeted, of which approximately 50 were underground rocket launchers”.

It also claimed senior Hamas military officials had been eliminated “as well as several other terrorist squads”.

Despite the ceasefire, more than 50,000 Israeli troops remained mobilised on the Gaza border.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was widely praised for his unlikely role as chief mediator in negotiating the ceasefire, which Egypt will also sponsor.

Thanking Morsi for his “personal leadership” in brokering the deal, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the development as “a critical moment for the region”.

“Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace,” she said.