An Israeli promise to refrain from shelling most of Gaza today to allow for humanitarian aid was met by reports of airstrikes, setting off recriminations.
But intermittent fire punctured the lull in fighting and neither Israel nor Hamas have indicated a willingness to discuss a lasting cease-fire.
A new offensive is under way in the separatist region of Donetsk. The MH17 crash scene, meanwhile, has become chaotic, with international investigators finding access limited or blocked outright by rebels.
Israel said it shot down a drone near Ashdod with a Patriot missile. Hamas has continued its menacing but ineffective rocket barrage into southern Israel as foreign nationals in Gaza flee.
Israeli airstrikes killed seven Hamas members and two civilians. In Israel, three of six suspects in the killing of Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khudeir reportedly confessed.
Ongoing fighting in Tikrit appears not to have dislodged Sunni Islamic rebels, including fighters from a militant group whose leader has declared himself the caliph of a splinter state.
Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad after stops in Jordan and Egypt amid accusations by Iran's supreme leader that the US was meddling in Iraqi politics.
Tal Afar, near Mosul, fell after heavy fighting between ISIS militants and Iraqi troops. ISIS has instituted brutal law in the areas of the north it now dominates.
Al Qaeda offshoot ISIS, which overran the Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, is already moving on to its next target. Its rapid progress indicates some local backing among Sunnis.
Ukraine's new president-elect Petro Poroshenko faces a stiff challenge in prosecuting an "anti-terrorist" operation in eastern Ukraine, where a border patrol camp has come under heavy fire.
Russian fighters are among the separatist forces battling Ukraine's poorly equipped military for control of eastern provinces. A pullback of Moscow's troops could defuse tensions with the West.
Gen. Hussein Ishaq was the commander of Syria's air defenses and among the highest-ranking regime officials killed since the conflict began in 2011.
Separatists in eastern Ukraine say that Sunday's referendums strongly favored self-rule for two regions. But questions remain over the validity of a vote that Kiev has strongly rejected.
Ukraine's interior minister announced it has sent a new police unit, involving 'civilian activists,' to bolster security in Odessa after a deadly weekend that left at least 40 dead.
Ukrainian troops aim to dislodge pro-Russian militants in Slovyansk. Russian warnings about military action against the east are boosting fears that it might invade.
President Obama said the measures are aimed at 'changing Putin's calculus' on Ukraine, and that further 'Russian aggression' could trigger more sanctions.