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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire
Israel and Hamas agreed Thursday to an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza conflict, set to begin Friday, the United States and United Nations said.
The cease-fire was scheduled to commence at 8 am local time on Friday, and is expected to last for a period of 72 hours unless it's extended, the State Department said in a statement. Military forces will be expected to stay in place during the cease-fire.
In a joint statement, the U.S. and U.N. said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to the halt in hostilities.
"This cease-fire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence," the State Department said in its statement. "During this period, 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."
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will "immediately" be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Egyptian government to try at reach a more permanent cease-fire, the statement said.
The statement was released in New Delhi, where Secretary of State John Kerry is now meeting with Indian officials.