UN, U.S. announce 3-day Gaza truce

UNITED NATIONS, (PNA/Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Thursday that a 72-hour ceasefire will begin in the Gaza Strip at 8 a.m. local time on Friday.

“This humanitarian ceasefire will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, August 1, 2014,” said a Ban-Kerry joint statement read out to the press here by Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.”

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

“This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence,” said the statement. “During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies.”