UPDATE: Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Despite fruitless attempts by diplomats to achieve a weeklong truce in the fighting in Gaza, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian cease fire to begin Saturday morning.
Secretary of State John Kerry had sought the longer pause in order to give regional players time to develop a long-term cease-fire.
Israel wants more time to destroy Hamas military tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza. Militants there have fired close to 2,500 rockets at Israel since July 8.
Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling have killed more than 860 Palestinians, most of them civilians. More than 5,700 people have been wounded and tens of thousands have been displaced.
Thirty-six Israeli troops have been killed and three civilians in Israel also have died.



JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military says a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza will start Saturday morning.

The military says in a statement that the lull will start at 8 a.m. local time Saturday and end at 8 p.m. local time. The statement warns that the military "shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit" the lull to attack Israeli troops "or fire at Israeli civilians." It also says that "operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue."

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said earlier Friday that the group had agreed to a 12-hour lull, starting at 8 a.m. local time Saturday.


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