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Israel, Hamas agree to 5-hour truce in Gaza on humanitarian grounds

Published on Jul 17, 2014 8:59 AM
A relatives of four Palestinian boys, all from the Bakr family, mourns over the body of one of the boys at the morgue of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Israel and Hamas have agreed to a UN request to halt hostilities for five hours on humanitarian grounds on Thursday, while efforts continue to broker a longer-term truce.

The sides announced the temporary lull in fighting across the Gaza border after an Israeli strike killed four children on a beach in the coastal strip on Wednesday.

A punishing Israeli offensive aimed at halting rocket fire into Israel by Gaza militants had resumed after previous Egyptian-brokered truce efforts collapsed Tuesday.

Israel's campaign, which entered its 10th day on Thursday, has killed 223 Palestinians so far, with a Gaza-based human rights group saying over 80 percent of them were civilians.

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