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U.S., U.N. announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

  • Smoke rises after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

    Smoke rises after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

  • Palestinian medics run carrying children, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, are treated in the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

    Palestinian medics run carrying children, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, are treated in the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

  • A Palestinian man cries after bringing a child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, to the emergency room room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Palestinian man cries after bringing a child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, to the emergency room room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, lies on the floor of the emergency room at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, lies on the floor of the emergency room at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attend the cabinet meeting at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, pool)

    Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attend the cabinet meeting at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, pool)

  • Palestinian Bajes Jendiyah, left, walks past the rubble of the family house, partially destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Palestinian Bajes Jendiyah, left, walks past the rubble of the family house, partially destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Palestinian Abdel Aziz Jendiyah, 4, stands in front of a six-story building, destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, adjacent to his family house, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The Jendiyah family building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Palestinian Abdel Aziz Jendiyah, 4, stands in front of a six-story building, destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, adjacent to his family house, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The Jendiyah family building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Palestinians walk past the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station which was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Palestinians walk past the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station which was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • A Palestinian man tries to extinguish flames of his damaged home which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    A Palestinian man tries to extinguish flames of his damaged home which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • A Palestinian man strikes the walls of his house which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    A Palestinian man strikes the walls of his house which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Displaced Palestinian Hajar Muharram, 5, sits in a classroom where the family of seven now live, at a U.N. school, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip,  Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Displaced Palestinian Hajar Muharram, 5, sits in a classroom where the family of seven now live, at a U.N. school, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Displaced Palestinians pose for the photographer at a U.N. school where they now live, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Displaced Palestinians pose for the photographer at a U.N. school where they now live, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Smoke rises after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)
  • Palestinian medics run carrying children, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, are treated in the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)
  • A Palestinian man cries after bringing a child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, to the emergency room room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, lies on the floor of the emergency room at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israel acknowledged that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone. It also stated that shell was not fired at the school intentionally. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attend the cabinet meeting at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, pool)
  • Palestinian Bajes Jendiyah, left, walks past the rubble of the family house, partially destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • A Palestinian child, wounded during fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Palestinian Abdel Aziz Jendiyah, 4, stands in front of a six-story building, destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, adjacent to his family house, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The Jendiyah family building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Palestinians walk past the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station which was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • A Palestinian man tries to extinguish flames of his damaged home which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • A Palestinian man strikes the walls of his house which caught on fire following an Israeli strike that hit the next-door Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station in Gaza City, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Displaced Palestinian Hajar Muharram, 5, sits in a classroom where the family of seven now live, at a U.N. school, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip,  Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Displaced Palestinians pose for the photographer at a U.N. school where they now live, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israeli attacks in the strip continued Thursday, with witnesses saying that munitions struck the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque next to a U.N. school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire to begin this morning, the United Nations and United States announced, although Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were “no guarantees” the lull in violence would bring an end to the 24-day-old Gaza war.

The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy Hamas’s tunnel network “with or without a cease-fire” and as the Palestinian death toll soared past 1,400.

Noting the difficulties that lay ahead, Kerry said: “This is not a time for congratulations or joy or anything except a serious determination – a focus by everybody to try to figure out the road ahead.”

“This is a respite. It is a moment of opportunity, not an end.”

At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting.

A joint statement released simultaneously by Kerry and at U.N. headquarters in New York said the U.S. and U.N. had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire, and would send delegations to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a lasting truce.

Soon after, an official at the prime minister’s office confirmed that Israel had agreed to a 72-hour truce beginning at 8 a.m. local time today. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Islamic militant group also had signed on, “as long as the other party is in agreement to it.”

Israeli and Palestinian delegations were expected to travel immediately to Cairo for talks with the Egyptian government aimed at reaching an end to the conflict.

“It is up to the parties – all of them – to take advantage of this moment,” Kerry said. “There are no guarantees. This is a difficult, complicated issue.”

During the cease-fire, Kerry said Israel will be able to continue its defense operations to destroy tunnels that are behind its territorial lines. The Palestinians will be able to receive food, medicine and humanitarian assistance, bury their dead, treat the wounded and travel to their homes. The time also will be used to make repairs to water and energy systems.

“We hope this moment can be grabbed by both parties, but no one can force them to do that,” Kerry said.

“Israel has to live without terror and tunnels and rockets and sirens going on through the day,” he said. “Palestinians have to be able to live freely and share in the rest of the world and live a life that is different from the one they have long suffered.”

The Palestinian delegation is expected to include members of Hamas, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization and cannot be negotiated with directly. So if the Israelis and Palestinians meet face to face, the Hamas members will not participate in those talks.

The Egyptians will be the go-between for the sides and will help coordinate, a senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t allowed to discuss the issue publicly.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the cease-fire was the result of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recent trip to the region “but also 48 hours of extremely active diplomacy at all levels from the secretary-general to his senior advisers talking to key regional players.”

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