Israel and Hamas Announce 'Humanitarian Cease-Fire' After Four Boys Killed On Gaza Beach

  • Gaza Conflict
    Smoke and flames are seen following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City July 16, 2014. Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.Gaza medical officials say 195 Palestinians, including at least 150 civilians, among them 31 children, have been killed. The Israeli military said that since the cease-fire deal was to have gone into effect, Hamas had fired 123 rockets at Israel, one killing a civilian - the first Israeli fatality in the fighting. Reuters/Ahmed Zakot
  • Israeli soldiers
    Israeli police take cover as a siren sounds, warning of incoming rockets, during a visit of Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende (both not pictured) to a site where a rocket landed in Ashkelon on July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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IDF beach attack kills 4 children Palestinians carry the bodies of two boys from the Baker family, whom medics said were killed with other two children from the same family by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, during their funeral in Gaza City July 16, 2014. Four Palestinian children were killed and one was critically wounded on a Gaza beach on Wednesday.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

On the evening of the eighth day of “Operation Protective Edge,” Israel has agreed to a five-hour cease-fire for humanitarian aid, beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. local time. 

Later Wednesday night, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri said that Hamas will also comply with the temporary break. 

"The Palestinian factions agreed to accept the offer from the United Nations for a cooling-down on the ground for five hours starting from 10 in the morning," he told AFP.

The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, proposed the short truce in an effort to allow food and medical supplies into Gaza, where the death toll is now at least 213 with thousands more injured, according to Palestinian officials.

News of the cease-fire came after four Palestinian children were killed on a beach in the Gaza strip. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said they launched an investigation into their death. The four boys, all between the ages of 9 and 11, were all from the same family, two were brothers and the others were cousins. 

“[The IDF] has no intention of harming civilians dragged by Hamas into the reality of urban combat. We are carefully investigating the incident in question,” the IDF said in a statement. “The target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives … the reported civilian causalities from this strike are a tragic outcome.”

On Tuesday, the IDF made robo-calls and sent leaflets asking tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, warning them of incoming strikes. They have also gone to great lengths to describe all the ways in which they attempt to prevent civilian casualties, particularly their “roof-knocking” technique, where they drop a low-level explosive on the roof a building less than a minute before a strike. 

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