U.S., UN Announce 72-Hour Gaza Ceasefire

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

The Israeli government and the Hamas terror group have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.

The announcement comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy Hamas’ tunnel network with or without a cease-fire.”

In a statement released in New Delhi where Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling, the U.S. and UN said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire.

 “This humanitarian cease-fire will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place,” the statement said.

“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian cease-fire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the cease-fire.”

There was no immediate Israeli comment on the cease-fire announcement.