Over the past six days at least 400 Palestinians have been killed in aerial bombadment of the narrow and densely populated Gaza Strip. Two thousand people, many of them civilians, have been wounded.

Four Israelis have been killed by home-made rockets fired by the Palestinian factions since the Israeli operation started.

France has been vocal in the diplomatic push for peace in Gaza and chaired an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers in Paris on Tuesday to discuss solutions to the conflict.

The Czech Republic has now taken over the EU presidency and a spokesman for the country's foreign office confirmed to Al Jazeera that it would be continuing the line of the French ceasefire proposal.

A Czech mission will begin a trip to the region on Sunday with visits scheduled to include Amman, Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Cairo.  

Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Beirut, said a senior Hamas source had confirmed on Thursday that there had been a European proposal for a ceasefire, but that its terms were very vague and that Hamas was still looking into it.

Amin said the ceasefire called for a halt to all attacks from both sides on civilian targets, the opening of crossings into Gaza and some kind of European presence to help organise the border crossings.

Bernard Kouchner, France's foreign minister, said on Wednesday that he and Sarkozy would be in southern Lebanon next week, and "will see if it is possible to go to Israel".