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Latest Gaza flashpoints: Israel accepts 12-hour truce

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens while Israel accepts a 12-hour truce proposed by the US.
Seven Palestinians killed in West Bank over past 24 hours in clashes with IDF (AA).

Israel’s offensive against Gaza entered its 18th day on Friday, and here are all the latest updates on what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank as well as developments in international efforts to find a ceasefire agreement.

Gaza & the West Bank

  • The death toll currently stands at 865 and is continuously on the rise, while at least 5,730 people have been injured, according to the Gaza health ministry.
  • At least seven Palestinians have been reported killed in the West Bank and scores wounded over the past 24 hours as clashes between Israeli troops and Israeli soldiers on one side and Palestinian demonstrators on the other side, have erupted amid protests in solidarity with Gaza.
  • Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon has told soldiers to "be prepared for the possibility that IDF will be ordered to expand Gaza ground operation very soon."
  • Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, previously declared missing, was officially declared "killed in action" by the IDF. 
  • Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza bringing the number of Israeli army losses to 35, while 134 soldiers are currently hospitalised, the military said.
  • Hamas’s military wing, Qassam Brigades announced on Friday that it has killed ten Israeli soldiers and injured an unspecified number of others in an ambush in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. This has not been confirmed by the IDF.
  • A UN team had to cut short an investigative visit to the scene of Thursday’s attack on a UNRWA-run school in Beit Hanoun, after it encountered gunfire.

Ceasefire efforts

  • Israel has agreed to a 12-hour 'down payment' on a longer ceasefire proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • Kerry however said at a press conference in Cairo on Friday that the US never submitted a ‘formal proposal’ for a Gaza truce and therefore reports of the Israeli security cabinet rejecting the initiative were incorrect.
  • Kerry said all parties – including the UN and Egypt - are "working towards a brief, seven-day humanitarian cease-fire to try to create a more durable, sustainable cease-fire," but the parties "still have some terminology in the context of the framework to work through."
  • Hamas has still not yet commented on the truce initiative proposed by the US or the seven-day halt for the Muslim Eid celebrations.
  • A meeting will be held in Paris on Saturday to discuss a Gaza cease-fire initiative. The meeting will be attended by envoys from the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, the EU, Turkey and Qatar, report Reuters.
  • The World Health Organisation called for a humanitarian corridor to be set up in Gaza to allow for evacuations and aid worker access.