NEW DELHI, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour pause in their three-week conflict, said a statement issued by the United States Secretary of State John Kerry on early Friday morning.
Kerry, on his visit in India, said this would allow for both sides to begin talks on a longer-term ceasefire.
The truce will begin at 08:00 a.m. Friday local time, after which delegations from Israel and Palestine will convene in Cairo for negotiations to be mediated by the Egyptian government, said the statement.
The ceasefire would give "innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence" and allow Gaza's civilians to "bury the dead, care for the injured, and restock food supplies", said the statement.
Repairs would also be made to water and power infrastructure damaged in the 24 days of conflict, it said.
However, "forces on the ground will remain in place" which apparently means Israel would continue to search for and destroy Hamas tunnels during the ceasefire.
"We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire," the statement said.