Middle East Unrest

Israel Says it Will Pause Gaza Offensive During 12-Hour 'Humanitarian Window'


Israel will crack open a "humanitarian window" and halt fighting for 12 hours on Saturday in Gaza, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces said on Twitter. The tweet, which said Israeli troops would "continue to locate and neutralize terror tunnels" during the period beginning at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET), came hours after a senior U.S. official said Israel had offered to pause its offensive. The Associated Press quoted a Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, as saying the group also had agreed the 12-hour lull, though NBC News had not confirmed that.

Earlier Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry said talks aimed at a seven-day humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip were bogged down in disagreement over "some terminology." But Kerry expressed confidence that Hamas and Israel will come to terms on a longer-term agreement. "None of us here is stopping," Kerry said in Cairo, shortly before boarding a flight to Paris. The devastating fighting has left 867 Palestinians dead in Gaza, including many civilians. Thirty-eight Israelis, including 35 soldiers, and a Thai worker have also been killed since the beginning of the operation.