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Five hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on humanitarian grounds

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Five hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on humanitarian grounds

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It is a brief calm in the storm of deadly air strikes and rocket attacks between Israel and Hamas.

A temporary ceasefire is underway, with both sides agreeing to a UN request to stop fighting for five hours on humanitarian grounds.

Earlier, Israeli forces said they thwarted a bid by Palestinian militants to infiltrate a kibbutz, by means of an underground tunnel from Gaza. Several gunmen were killed.

But it is the deaths of four young boys on a beach in Gaza that has stirred dismay and indignation internationally. Officials there say the youngsters from the same family – two aged 10 and the others 9 and 11 – were playing when they were killed by shelling from an Israeli gunboat.

The Israeli military said the reported civilian casualties were unintended and “tragic” and that it was investigating what happened.

Gaza officials say some 220 Palestinians have died in ten days of fighting. One Israeli has been killed.