Israel, Hamas agree new truce starting on Friday: official
GAZA CITY / JERUSALEM
Relatives of four boys, all from the Bakr family, mourn during their funeral in Gaza City, on July 16. AFP PhotoAn Israeli official said on Thursday there is an agreement for a comprehensive Gaza ceasefire starting on Friday.
In Gaza, there was no immediate confirmation from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups that they had agreed to halt 10 days of cross-border warfare.
"There is an agreement for a ceasefire beginning tomorrow. I believe it is six in the morning (0300 GMT)," said the official, who asked not to be identified. The official said Israeli leaders approved a truce after a senior Israeli delegation held talks in Egypt.
Mortars fired at Israel during Gaza cease-fire: army
Israel's military says three mortar shells were fired from Gaza after a humanitarian cease-fire went into effect.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld had earlier said two rockets fell in open areas in southern Israel, causing no damage or injuries. He said the rockets landed at 12 p.m. local time, two hours after the cease-fire began.
The army later said in a statement that the attack consisted of three mortar shells.
It was not immediately clear whether the Israeli military would respond. Israel and Hamas both agreed on a halt in fighting for a five-hour period Thursday to allow Gazans to stock up on supplies.
"We are holding our fire until 3:00 pm (1200 GMT) today in order to enable a humanitarian window in Gaza. If Hamas fires, we will respond with force," Israel's army said on its Twitter account.
Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri confirmed Gaza militants were sticking to the agreement.
"All the factions including Hamas are implementing what they announced, a stop to the operations of the resistance," he told AFP.
"We and all factions will follow and observe the occupation's implementation of this temporary truce," he added.
The truce brought temporary reprieve from nine days of fighting in which 230 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes, and one Israeli killed by a rocket attack.
No aid is expected to enter Gaza during the pause in fighting, but it will give thousands of Palestinians who have fled their homes the chance to return, albeit briefly.
And aid officials said the ceasefire would allow them to access areas previously off-limits because of ongoing fighting.
Palestinian president to meet Egypt's Sisi over Gaza crisis
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza.
The meeting, announced by Egypt's presidency, comes as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza, agreed to briefly halt hostilities Thursday on humanitarian grounds.
Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.
Abbas on Wednesday in Cairo met Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq, who insisted on changes to the Egyptian truce plan including guarantees on opening border crossings to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The initiative called for a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of fighting, and loosened border restrictions on goods for the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Israel initially accepted the Egyptian initiative but later intensified its air strikes after Hamas rejected the plan, saying it had not been consulted.