Cease-fire between Hamas, Israel starts in Gaza

Updated: 2014-07-17 17:20


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Cease-fire between Hamas, Israel starts in Gaza

Palestinians wait to withdraw cash from a bank in Gaza City July 17, 2014. Palestinians rushed to shops and banks on Thursday as a five-hour humanitarian truce agreed by Israel and Hamas came into force, hours after the Israeli military said it had fought off gunmen who infiltrated from Gaza. [Photo/Agencies]

GAZA - A five-hour cease-fire became valid on Thursday at 10:00 am local time (0700 GMT) between Israel and Islamic Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip under the United Nations' request, officials said.

The cease-fire will enable humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave.

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Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas movement's spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that after consulting with the Palestinian factions and political powers, it was agreed to accept the UN request for a five-hour cease-fire.

A Hamas official said on condition of anonymity that his movement and other Palestinian factions agreed to halt rockets fire into Israel for five hours in response to a proposal by the United Nations.

"But we will respond to any Israeli attacks on Gaza during the pause," the official said.

It is the first pause of fighting since Israel and Hamas fighters have engaged in fierce cross-border violence since July 8.

The temporary cease-fire was made as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and top Hamas leaders, who are all currently in Cairo, trying to agree with Egypt permanent cease-fire proposal.

Robert Serry, the envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Middle East, said in an emailed press statement that the cease- fire in Gaza "is a humanitarian issue trying to help Gaza populations."

"It is so important to see the cease-fire achieved successfully and I hope that a cease-fire will be permanent and all humanitarian issues and problems are solved in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible," said Serry.

As soon as the cease-fire started in the Gaza Strip, thousands of people went out from their homes for shopping, while traffic in the main streets of the coastal enclave was very active.

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