The UN and the US have announced that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin on Friday morning.
In a joint statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry the two sides would cease fire at 8am local time (05:00 GMT) and that Israelis and Palestinians would enter talks in Cairo.
The statement said: “This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. 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 government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations.”
Earlier on Thursday, the US said there was “little doubt” Israeli bombs killed 19 people at a UN shelter in Gaza on Wednesday, in its strongest condemnation yet of Israeli attacks on civilians in the Palestinian enclave.
Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, said on Thursday that the shelling of the school in Jabaliya was “totally indefensible.”