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Israel, Gaza militants start 72-hour ceasefire

Published on Aug 1, 2014 2:27 PM
 

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - A 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants went into effect on Friday, as a diplomatic push for a more durable end to almost four weeks of bloodshed gained pace.

As the humanitarian truce began at 0500 GMT (1pm Singapore time), the skies over the Gaza Strip fell silent, although in the preceeding two hours there was heavy Israeli fire and the sound of outgoing rockets.

Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that once the ceasefire was under way, Israeli and Palestinian representatives, including from Hamas, would begin more durable truce talks in Cairo, in a move confirmed by Egypt.

But Israeli forces would remain inside Gaza, he added, after the Jewish state vowed it would not accept any ceasefire that did not allow troops to continue destroying tunnels used by militants to attack its territory.

Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 31, 2014. A 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants went into effect on Friday, as a diplomatic push for a more durable end to almost four weeks of bloodshed gained pace. -- PHOTO: AFP
 
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