Israel, Hamas Agree to 72-Hour Ceasefire

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire, according to an announcement from Secretary of State John Kerry. “The United Nations representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, has received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza,” Kerry said in a joint statement with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The ceasefire will begin at 8 a.m. Friday and allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need in Gaza. Ground forces will remain in place for the duration of the ceasefire and Israeli and Palestinian delegations will depart to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a “durable ceasefire,” according to the statement. “This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence,” the statement said. “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.”