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Israel’s 7-hour humanitarian truce starts in Gaza

August 04, 2014, 12:22 UTC+3 TEL AVIV

“The truce does not extend to the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip where combat operations are continuing,” the Israeli army’s press office says

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TEL AVIV, August 04. /ITAR-TASS/. A unilateral 7-hour humanitarian truce declared by Israel started in most of the Palestinian enclave’s territory on Monday, the Israeli army’s press office reported.

“We have given permission for a humanitarian window, which will last in the Gaza Strip from 11:00 to 17:00 Moscow time (07:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. GMT),” the press office said.

“The truce does not extend to the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip where combat operations are continuing,” the Israeli army’s press office said.

The 7-hour truce is intended to deliver humanitarian aid to the enclave’s residents and allow Palestinians to return to their homes abandoned as a result of combat operations that have been going on for 28 days.

Israel will retaliate with fire to the truce violation by Palestinians, the Israeli army’s press office said.

“We’ll continue destroying Hamas tunnels and respond to any attempt to inflict damage on Israeli citizens and soldiers,” the press office said.

Palestinian radicals have fired 3,253 rockets against Israel since the Israeli army launched its Operation Protective Edge in the Palestinian enclave on July 8. Palestinian militants launched 11 shells against Israel on Sunday alone.

Israel started to redeploy its ground forces in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in preparations for a new phase of its operation, Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said.

“As Operation Protective Edge is entering a new phase, the army is redeploying its forces to continue its struggle against Hamas and ensure protection against underground tunnels,” Lerner said.

Media reports said that Israeli army ground forces had been pulled back from Gaza populated areas and deployed on both sides of the border.

Israeli television said that 86,000 reservists called up for Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip were not yet allowed to return home.

The Israeli army has lost 64 soldiers over 28 days of its operation. Three Israeli civilians were killed in rocket attacks by Palestinian militants on Israel.

The Israeli aviation, navy and ground forces have destroyed over 4,700 targets in the Gaza Strip over 28 days of the military operation.

Over 1,800 Palestinians have been killed and another about 9,000 wounded in the Israeli army’s operation in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian health officials said.

Another 400,000 Palestinians, or every fourth resident of the enclave, have had to leave their homes over the Israeli army’s continued operation in the Gaza Strip. A considerable part of Palestinians is staying at UN-sponsored schools in the Gaza Strip.

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