United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday announced an "unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in Gaza.
The United Nations representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, received promises that all parties have agreed to the cease-fire, according to a joint statement from the U.N. and State Department.
Shortly after the announcement, Hamas' top official, Izzat al-Rishq, announced on Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV that his group has agreed to the cease-fire.
It is set to commence at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) on Friday, August 1, and will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. "During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place," they said.
The joint statement said "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."
It also said the pause in fighting was necessary to give residents a much-needed break from violence. During the cease fire, civilians in Gaza will receive humanitarian relief and have time to bury the dead, take care of the injured and restock food supplies.
— Hasani Gittens
First published July 31 2014, 2:44 PM