Gaza conflict: Israel and Hamas 'agree ceasefire'

Israel aerial attack on Gaza, 4 AugIsrael had resumed aerial attacks after a seven-hour pause on Monday

Israel and Palestinian groups including Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, officials and Egyptian mediators say.

The ceasefire will start at 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

On Monday Israel held its own seven-hour "humanitarian window" in Gaza but then resumed its military operations.

Health officials in Gaza say more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the four-week conflict, which has also claimed 67 Israeli lives.

A Thai national working in Israel was also killed.

'Without preconditions'

There have been several truces called during the conflict but few have lasted, with each side accusing the other of violations.

There were chaotic scenes at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after an air strike on Monday morning, as Orla Guerin reports

James Reynolds reports from Jerusalem after Israeli police shoot a man who allegedly attacked a bus with a stolen digger

The latest was discussed on Monday by various Palestinian groups in Cairo, although Israel did not attend.

However, a senior Israeli official later told the BBC: "Israel will accept the draft of the Egyptian proposal for an unconditional ceasefire, without preconditions and for 72 hours."

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, which controls Gaza, told Reuters news agency: "Hamas told Egypt a short while ago of its acceptance of a 72-hour period of calm."

A senior Egyptian official told AFP news agency: "Egypt's contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza."

Israeli unit returns from Gaza, 4 AugIsrael has been moving back some of its units from Gaza

Site of attack in Gaza City, 4 AugPalestinians accused Israel of launching an attack during its unilateral truce on Monday

Egypt negotiated a similar truce earlier in the conflict that was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas.

The new agreement proposes that delegations from all sides then attend further talks in Cairo.

The main Palestinian demands remain on the table, notably a full Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza, the end of the blockade of the territory and the opening of border crossings.

The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Cairo, says Hamas needs to be seen to have achieved something after more than 1,800 Palestinian deaths, but a longer-term calm will need both sides to give ground.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said again on Monday that Israel's main goal was to "return quiet and security to the citizens of Israel".

Speaking after the seven-hour truce ended, he also said that the military operation would not end until all tunnels used by militants to infiltrate Israel were destroyed.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks.

Jerusalem attacks

Israel's seven-hour "window" generally slowed the violence on Monday, although Palestinian officials said Israel broke it shortly after it began by hitting a house in Gaza City.

The BBC's Mark Lowen asks what Egyptians make of the crisis in Gaza

A young girl was killed and at least 15 other people injured, many of them women and children.

Israel said a number of rockets were fired from Gaza during the window.

And in Jerusalem, a construction vehicle driven by a man, identified by police as a Palestinian from east Jerusalem, overturned a bus in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood.

A passer-by was killed and several people were injured before police shot dead the driver.

Later a soldier was seriously injured in a suspected drive-by shooting in Jerusalem's Mt Scopus area.