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Published: Friday August 1, 2014 MYT 5:55:02 AM
Updated: Friday August 1, 2014 MYT 5:56:07 AM

Israel and Hamas agree on 72-hour humanitarian Gaza ceasefire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in their conflict in the Gaza Strip starting on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

The ceasefire will begin at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) on Friday, Aug. 1, they said in a joint statement. The statement said "forces on the ground will remain in place" during the truce, implying that Israeli ground forces will not withdraw.

"We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire," Kerry and Ban said. "This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence."

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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