U.S., U.N. officials announce 72-hour Gaza ceasefire

Jul 31, 2014, 6:16 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry answers questions about Israel's invasion of Gaza and the current situation in Ukraine following a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin at the State Department July 29, 2014 in Washington, DC. Kerry responded to questions raised about his attempts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Credit Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced in a joint statement on Friday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The ceasefire is set to begin at 8AM local time on Friday and will last for 72 hours with the option of being extended. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will head to Cairo in the meanwhile to recommence talks. According to the statement, Israeli forces will remain on the ground in Gaza during that period. 

“This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that that group would abide by the ceasefire, saying “all the Palestinian factions are united behind the issue in this regard.”