GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A seven-hour truce under which Israel would unilaterally hold fire in most of the Gaza Strip went into force on Monday. Palestinians immediately accused Israel of breaking the cease-fire by bombing a house in Gaza City.
Israel announced a temporary cease-fire to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and allow some of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by an almost four-week-old war to go home. An Israeli defense official said the cease-fire, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (3 a.m. ET to 10 a.m. ET), would apply everywhere but areas of the southern town of Rafah where ground forces have intensified assaults after three soldiers died in a Hamas ambush there on Friday. Hamas saw a possible ruse in the humanitarian truce announcement. "The calm Israel declared is unilateral and aims to divert attention away from the Israeli massacres," the group's spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We do not trust such a calm and we urge our people to exercise caution." Israel launched its offensive on July 8 following a surge in Hamas rocket salvoes. Gaza officials say 1,796 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed. Israel has lost 64 soldiers in combat and three civilians.
First published August 4 2014, 1:46 AM