Israel and Hamas have agreed to a five-hour-long cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza following a request from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The Israeli military has said that it will hold its fire for five hours beginning at 10:00 on Thursday morning. However, it clarified that should Hamas or other militant groups attack Israel during this time, it will retaliate “firmly and decisively”. The spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, later confirmed that Hamas had accepted the truce.
The cease-fire request came from United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Robert Serry. Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system continued to intercept rockets that were heading towards Israel even after news of the ceasefire broke.
Earlier in the day, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called on the international community to condemn Hamas for committing a “double war crime” of firing barrages of rockets at Israelis while using Palestinians as human shields. Speaking at a news conference, Netanyahu assured that “Israel will continue to do what it needs to do to defend itself until peace and quiet are restored.” He added that the demilitarization of Gaza is “most important step for the international community to insist on.” Read more about this story here.