Hamas, Israel approve humanitarian lull in Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had notified U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that his country would begin a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, an Israeli official said late on Friday.
The official added that the truce would last for 12 hours and that it would start at 5:00 GMT.
The Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas early on Saturday also approved the United Nations-proposed humanitarian calm for 12 hours in the Gaza Strip.
"Gaza factions have approved a humanitarian calm for 12 hours on Saturday," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency.
The source was quoted by the website of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the truce aims to give the chance to the Palestinians of Gaza to receive food and water supplies, allow hospitals to get their medical needs and also give the chance to international organizations to offer humanitarian aid to the Gazans.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with fierce aerial bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire.
At least 879 Palestinians have been killed – mostly civilians – and more than 5745 others injured in Israel's ongoing offensive, now in its third week.
The Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rocket at Israeli cities in response to relentless Israeli bombardments.
Israel's military operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.
In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians were killed in Israel's three-week-long "Operation Cast Lead."
By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout