World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel announced a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
In a statement, the army said the humanitarian window will commence between 15:00GMT to 19:00GMT except for areas in which its soldiers are currently operating.
Hamas described the truce as a media stunt because it only applied to some areas.
"We will respond to any attempt to exploit this window to harm Israeli civilians and soldiers," the army said.
The Israeli army, however, warned that Palestinian residents "must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate."
Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee has confirmed the 4-hour ceasefire.
He, however, said that the truce will not be applied to the areas of Beit Hanoun and al-Shujaya in northern Gaza and Abassan, Khuza'a and Rafah in southern Gaza.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas, dismissed the partial, temporary ceasefire as a "media stunt", saying it would not allow rescue workers to retrieve casualties in combat zones Israel had excluded.
Israel has been shelling in Jebalya, where some 120,000 people live, since Tuesday, in what the chief Israeli military spokesman, Brigadier-General Motti Almoz, described as a slight broadening of its campaign.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to review progress with his security cabinet later on Wednesday, and a Palestinian delegation was expected in Cairo for discussions on an elusive truce.
In previous bouts of fighting between Israel and its neighbours, the United States has often leaned on the Israelis to stop after incidents that caused high civilian casualties. Washington appears to have less sway with either side this time.
Egypt said on Tuesday it was revising an unconditional ceasefire proposal that Israel had originally accepted but Hamas rejected, and that a new offer would be presented to the Palestinian representatives.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with devastating bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire from the strip.
At least 1285 Palestinians – mostly civilians – have been killed and more than 7100 others injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks in the blockaded territory.
At least 56 Israelis – 53 soldiers and three civilians – have been killed since the hostilities began.
Israel's military operation, dubbed operation "Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.
In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians were killed in Israel's three-week-long operation "Cast Lead."
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