French foreign minister Laurent Fabius meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo on Friday to seek end to violence in Gaza. Photograph: EPA/Ghanaim/Palestinian Authority

Qatari effort would deprive Egypt’s newly inaugurated president of a diplomatic coup

Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi (left)  with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo on Wednesday.  Abbas is widely criticised by Palestinians for not condemning Israel’s offensive in Gaza. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

Cairo’s failure to broker a ceasefire is not surprising given its difficult position

A man hoping to cross into Egypt holds his passport and those of his family at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters .

Blair says priority must be stopping the violence

Omaima, Fatima and Somaia Halawa, sisters of Ibrahim Halawa. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Teenager held on terrorism charges since protest against ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi

 Almost 200 Palestinians have died during the past week of shell and rocket fire. Photograph: Mohammed Saber/ EPA

Israeli ground invasion of Gaza would sideline and humiliate Cairo

Members of Islamist rebel group Jabhat  al-Nusra prepare a home-made mortar in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo. Photograph: Reuters/Hamid Khatib

The unified Jabhat and Isis may boast 30,000 fighters – a threat to Baghdad

Children have taken part in battles, acted as spies, manned checkpoints and ferried ammunition to front lines

The minaret of the Mamluk 14th century Madrasa of Sarghatmish is seen through the crenellations of the Tulunid 9th century Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo. Photograph: David Silverman/Getty Images

Middle East state borders endured despite origins in deals between British and French

Iraqi refugees fleeing from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region, as soldiers watch them pass an area in Irbil, 350km (217 miles) north of Baghdad, last week. Photograph: AP

Already stretched by the conflict in Syria, NGOs are trying desperately to assist displaced Iraqis

More articles