Israel, Hamas agree to a 5-hour 'humanitarian' pause in Gaza fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israel and Hamas have agreed to a five-hour U.N. brokered "humanitarian" pause to their 9-day-long battle.

Israel's bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including four boys struck on a beach Wednesday by shells fired from a navy ship.

Israel says it will hold its fire Thursday from 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Eastern) under a plan to allow Palestinians to restock food, water and other necessities. But it has vowed to retaliate "firmly and decisively" if Hamas or other militant groups launch attacks on Israel during that time.

Hamas says Gaza militants have decided to respect the pause as well and will refrain from firing rockets during those hours as well.

Israel previously halted its fire for six hours Tuesday after Egypt put forward a cease-fire proposal that unraveled.

Hamas, however, rejected the plan, bemoaning what it said was a lack of support from the Arab world.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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