Gaza humanitarian ceasefire begins

Gaza humanitarian ceasefire begins

A 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire has begun to allow civilians in Gaza to receive aid and evacuate to safer areas.

The Israeli military says the 12-hour pause began at 8am local time (5am GMT). It warned the military “shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit” the lull to attack Israeli troops or civilians.

The military said “operational activities to locate and neutralise tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue”.

Previous humanitarian ceasefires have been cut short by fighting.

Civilians on both sides have been hardest hit over the past 18 days. Nearly 900 Palestinians and 40 Israelis have been killed.

The lull was agreed upon by both sides after US Secretary of State John Kerry failed to broker a week-long truce as a first step toward a broader deal.

Britain’s United Nations ambassador had earlier said there may be “an extremely short” humanitarian pause in the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas today lasting several hours.

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