Israel and Hamas agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce that went into effect at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, the 19th day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. An international summit for a ceasefire began in Paris at midday local time. Representatives from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, the EU, Turkey and Qatar were said to be attending the talks.
Minutes before the temporary ceasefire began, an entire Gazan family was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp that completely leveled the four-story building they were sleeping in. The attack left 20 members of the al-Najjar family dead. According to Maan, the family had fled their homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, earlier in the day after Israeli artillery shelling killed dozens of people there. The strike reportedly killed eleven children, four women and five men.
The Israeli army stated that two soldiers were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip last night, raising the military death toll in Operation Protective Edge to 37.
Journalists in Gaza tweeted that people were venturing out to take advantage of the temporary pause in fighting to stock up on food, withdraw cash and charge their cellphones.
Haaretz cited the Palestinian Authority’s official radio station stating that in the first two hours of the humanitarian ceasefire, rescue forces retrieved 60 civilians’ bodies from buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip. With the discovery of bodies under rubble, the Palestinian death toll surpassed 940.
Citing military sources, Ynet reported that Palestinians who had evacuated their homes would not be allowed to return during the 12-hour humanitarian truce. The Israeli army was also reportedly continuing to target tunnels during the pause in fighting.
Meanwhile, tension continued to engulf the West Bank, with multiple protests taking place all over the territory against Israel’s operation in Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are taking part in what is being called the biggest unrest in the West Bank in a decade. Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since Thursday night.