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Israel extends temporary ceasefire to 9pm tonight as Gaza death toll passes 1,000

Today’s ceasefire allowed Palestinian’s to return to what was left of their homes to try to salvage belongings.

Updated 5.13pm

Palestinian Mazen Keferna cries upon his return during a 12-hour cease-fire to the family house destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun. Source: AP/Press Association Images

ISRAEL HAS AGREED to a four-hour extension of a temporary truce in Gaza, Israel television has said.

The security Cabinet agreed to prolong the 12 hour truce that began this morning, extending it until midnight local time (9pm GMT).

It comes after the bodies of more than 100 Palestinians were recovered from rubble across Gaza today, raising to over 1,000 the overall death toll of Israel’s onslaught on the territory since 8 July.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the bodies were retrieved in the three hours since a humanitarian truce came into effect.

Thirteen bodies were recovered in Shejaiya in eastern Gaza City, 13 more in Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat in central Gaza, and nine in north Gaza.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

A 12-hour ceasefire entered into force between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip at 5am this morning, the 19th day of a conflict that has killed hundreds.

Israel and the Islamist movement said they would observe the temporary ceasefire, after US Secretary of State John Kerry was unable to reach a lasting truce during talks yesterday in Cairo.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

In the hours leading up to the pause, however, the violence continued, with Israeli air strikes killing 23 people, among them four children and a paramedic, Gaza medical services said.

The conflict, which began on 8 July when Israel launched an operation to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza and destroy Hamas tunnels, has cost the lives of more than 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 39 Israelis, all but two of them soldiers.

Mideast Israel Palestinians Palestinians hug each other after seeing their homes destroyed, during a 12-hour cease-fire in Gaza. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The respite came after pessimism prevailed, with the Israeli security cabinet rejecting a ceasefire proposed by Kerry, according to reports in the Israeli media.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

It gave residents a chance to return to their homes to pick through the ruins, though for many, there was nothing left.

The diplomatic push for a lasting truce resumed this morning, when the foreign ministers of key players in the conflict gathered for talks in Paris, including Kerry.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Yesterday, the top US diplomat said in Cairo that both Israel and Hamas “still have some terminology” to agree to on a ceasefire, but added they had “fundamental framework” on a truce.

Under the proposal, once a humanitarian lull takes hold, delegations from Israel and Hamas would arrive in Cairo – which has mediated past conflicts between the two – for indirect talks that could lead to a lasting deal.

- © AFP 2014.

First published 7.26am

Read: Gaza: Israel and Hamas ‘agree 12-hour ceasefire’>
Read: Baby delivered from dead mother in Gaza>

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