07/26/2014, 00.00
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Gaza: Israel and Hamas agree to a 12-hour humanitarian truce

Israel troops will continue to "locate and neutralise" Hamas tunnels and vows to respond to any attack. The international community continues to negotiate to achieve a seven-day ceasefire. Rescue team get to work in Gaza to treat the wounded, restore electricity and provide water supplies.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, starting 8 am (5 am GMT). However, Israel said it would continue to "locate and neutralise" Hamas tunnels during the pause and vowed to respond if it came under attack.

A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri said late on Friday that there was "national consensus on a humanitarian truce . . . for 12 hours on Saturday".

Over 870 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 38 Israelis have died since the conflict started on 8 July.

Overnight, Israeli strikes killed 19 Palestinians, including 11 children. A four-storey building was hit. Two Israeli soldiers were also killed.

The humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza is allowing Palestinian emergency rescue crews to access buildings that were bombed by Israeli forces over the past week.

Minutes after the pause in fighting came into effect, small crowds of people could be seen out on the streets of Gaza

Banks are due to open and maintenance work is being carried out to try to repair damage done to the electricity and water supplies. Meanwhile, water is being distributed to residents.

Until yesterday, the efforts of the international community to negotiate a ceasefire were going nowhere.

Today's truce gives some hope. Foreign ministers from the US, UK, Turkey and Qatar are among those meeting in France later on Saturday to try to negotiate a longer-term truce.

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See also
Three-hour ceasefire not enough to avoid humanitarian crisis in Gaza
Israel rejects (for now) truce proposal in Gaza as “unrealistic”
UN resumes distribution of aid in Gaza. Third week of war begins
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