GAZA, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – The leaders of Hamas movement controlling the Gaza Strip confirmed they will abide by 72-hour ceasefire with Israel, which begins Friday morning.
"Acknowledging a call by the United Nations and in consideration of the situation of our people, resistance factions agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian and mutual calm that begins at 8:00 a.m. (05:00 GMT) on Friday as long as the other side abides by it," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told journalists.
Earlier today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry in a joint statement made in India announced that both sides of the conflict agreed to humanitarian pause and the following round of talks in Cairo. Kerry also said that “forces on the ground will remain in place" during the ceasefire, which means that Israel will not withdraw its ground forces and will continue to search for and destroy the tunnels of militants in bordering districts of Gaza.
Shortly after the statement, Palestinian militants fired three rockets from Gaza Strip, one of which was shot down over the densely populated area in central Israel by Iron Dome anti-missile system. Local media reported that air-raid warning also went off in Tel Aviv’s international airport.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza on July 8. On July 17, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault largely aimed at locating and destroying rocket launchers and underground tunnels used by militants to smuggle arms and secretly enter Israeli territory. More than 1, 400 Palestinians and nearly 60 Israelis have been killed since the offensive began.