An Israeli tank advances in a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border on Thursday. Photograph: Tsafrir Abayov/AP
Shelling continued in the Gaza Strip minutes before the ceasefire began at 8am local time and four Palestinians reported killed by Israeli tank fire
By: Harriet Sherwood, Jason Burke and Paul Lewis
A tense ceasefire has officially come into effect in Gaza after Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour pause in their three-week conflict. The United States and United Nations brokered the temporary truce to allow for humanitarian relief and bring both sides to the table for talks on a longer-term halt to hostilities.
After a night of heavy bombardment, shelling continued in the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from Hamas hit Israel minutes before the ceasefire began at 8am on Friday local time. An Israeli army spokesman said it was looking into reports four Palestinians were killed and 15 wounded by tank fire nearly two hours after the truce began.
Delegations from Israel and Palestine are due to convene in Cairo for negotiations to be mediated by the Egyptian government.
Hamas and Israel agree to a temporary humanitarian pause in fighting in besieged Gaza Strip from 05:00 GMT on Saturday.
Israel and Hamas have agreed a 12-hour humanitarian truce to begin at 04:00 GMT on Saturday to pause hostilities in Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his movement, together with all armed groups in Gaza, had agreed to the temporary ceasefire which he said was mediated by the United Nations, the Reuters news agency reported.
The announcement came just hours after Israel’s cabinet rejected the terms of a ceasefire championed by the US Secretary of State John Kerry.