3-day humanitarian cease-fire begins in Gaza
GAZA CITY (CNN) — After weeks of fighting and more than 1,500 deaths, a humanitarian cease-fire began Friday between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Announced Thursday by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the halt to hostilities is planned to last for 72 hours and provide an opportunity to seek a more lasting solution to the conflict.
“During this time, the forces on the ground will remain in place,” a joint statement by the United Nations and United States said.
There were no immediate reports of fighting after the truce came into effect at 8 a.m. Friday in Gaza (1 a.m. ET). About an hour into the pause, the Israel Defense Forces said no rockets had been fired from Gaza toward Israel.
Officials from Israel and Hamas had said in text messages that they accepted the cease-fire, which is meant to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza caught up in the violence.
Many Gaza residents have seen their neighborhoods hit hard and loved ones killed or wounded since Israel began Operation Protective Edge against Hamas on July 8.
Around half a million people in the small, impoverished territory have been displaced by the conflict, according to the United Nations. That’s about 14% of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million.
The aid during the cease-fire will include food, care for the injured and burial of the dead.
Under the truce, Israeli and Palestinian officials are expected to meet in Cairo to try to reach “a durable cease-fire,” the U.N. and U.S. statement said. “The parties will be able to raise issues of concern in these negotiations.”
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