Israeli army announces total retreat from Gaza as ceasefire begins
Israeli military announces that all forces will have completed their withdrawal from Gaza at the start of the latest ceasefire agreed with Hamas in Cairo
5:55AM BST 05 Aug 2014
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas meant to last at least three days has taken effect in the Gaza Strip.
The truce was agreed to by both sides in the month-long war. It started at 8am (0500 GMT) on Tuesday.
During the 72-hour truce, Israel and Hamas are to hold indirect talks in Cairo on a broader deal that would prevent future cross-border violence.
Previous international attempts to broker a temporary halt in the fighting failed.
The Israeli military says all its ground troops will have pulled out of Gaza by the start of the new cease-fire.
Lt Col Peter Lerner said the withdrawal will be completed by the 8am deadline to cease hostilities.
Lerner said the withdrawal is going forward after Israel completed the destruction of 32 cross-border tunnels meant to allow Islamic militants to carry out attacks against Israel.
The ceasefire is meant to end nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, which has claimed 1,900 Palestinian lives – most of them civilians. The war has also left 67 Israelis dead, all but three of them soldiers.