A temporary cease-fire brought relative quiet to Gaza Thursday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to hold their fire for five hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time, for humanitarian reasons. The peace was marred by a mortar attack around noon. There has been no indication that Israel retaliated.
An Israeli army spokesman said three mortars landed in southern Israel but did no damage, Linda Gradstein tells our Newscast unit. She adds that it wasn’t clear whether Hamas or a smaller Palestinian faction trying to disrupt the cease- fire was responsible.
“The cease-fire was requested by Robert Serry, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East, in order to allow aid into the Gaza Strip,” reports Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Residents have used the break to rush for supplies at markets, visit hospitals and conduct business at banks.
In Gaza, the death toll from Israeli airstrikes has climbed above 220 — a number that includes four boys who died in a bombardment on a beach Wednesday.
From Jerusalem, NPR’s Ari Shapiro reports:
“Today people are mourning the death of four children who were playing on the beach when they were killed in an Israeli attack. Israel has not offered details of the incident, beyond saying that it had targeted terrorist activity.
“The military also reports that today it stopped about a dozen militants who were trying to attack Israel via a tunnel underneath the Gaza border.”
An Israeli delegation visited Cairo today, to hold talks with Egyptian officials who are trying to broker a more permanent peace deal to end the fighting that started early last week. A delegation from Hamas was also present — but in a different section of the same hotel, reports The Los Angeles Times, Egypt’s representatives shuttled between the two groups.