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Israel and Hamas agree to 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, the US state department announced in a statement on Thursday evening.

In the joint statement, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, had received assurances from all parties to observe a 72-hour unconditional humanitarian cease-fire between the Palestinians in Gaza and the Israelis.

According to the statement, the ceasefire provisions include:

  1. The humanitarian ceasefire will commence at 8:00 am local time on Friday, 1 August and last for a period of 72 hours, unless extended.
  2. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.
  3. The parties must "act with restraint until this humanitarian cease-fire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire".
  4. Throughout the ceasefire, "civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period."
  5. An Israeli and a Palestinian delegation will travel to Cairo for talks with the Egyptian government, at the invitation of Egypt, in order to reach a lasting cease-fire agreement and to discuss all issues of concern.
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