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GAZA CITY, Gaza - Israel's military announced a four-hour "humanitarian window" in parts of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, adding that it would not apply to areas where its soldiers were already operating. It would be in place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (8 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET), the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. "Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate," the statement added. "The IDF will respond to any attempt to exploit this window to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers."

A spokesman for Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, rejected Israel's announcement just minutes after it was issued. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV that the declaration was propaganda, and worthless because it excluded areas on the border with Israel.


- Ayman Mohyeldin and F. Brinley Bruton