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Israel announces withdrawal from Gaza

The war has so far killed almost 2,000 Palestinians, 64 IDF soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians.

The war has far killed almost 2,000 Palestinians, 64 IDF soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians.

GAZA/Tel Aviv - With a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas now in effect, both sides have warned each other to stick to the agreement.

The ceasefire was brokered in Egypt after several failed attempts to put a stop to weeks of bloody fighting.

Israeli troops have also started withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.

Israel government spokesperson Mark Regev says, "So what has to be said is all loss of life that we've seen in the last three weeks has been totally without any reason. Israel accepted this proposal three weeks ago."

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson, Osama Hamdan, says his organisation is willing to uphold the truce and they expect Israel to do the same.

"We'll be all, as Palestinians, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement committed to that unless the Israelis don't violate it first."

The Israeli army has announced a total retreat from Gaza as a new ceasefire kicks in, but a military official says troops will take up defensive positions outside of the Gaza strip.

The ceasefire comes as global pressure on Israel mounts over the growing number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

Gaza Health Ministry says the war has killed 1,834 Palestinians, most of them civilians have been killed.

Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8 after a surge in cross-border rocket salvoes from Gaza.

Three similar agreements have collapsed since the violence began, and even though the two sides are so far agreeing to this latest temporary truce, they're suspicious of one another.

Israel says it's Hamas's responsibility to make sure this one works as they have been burnt more than once.

Hamas says they will honour the agreement so long as Israel does.

Assuming the ceasefire holds for the next three days, the plan is for delegation from Israel to arrive in Cairo for indirect negotiations.

The talks are aimed at securing a permanent end to the violence.

Egypt has so far not released the details of the ceasefire agreement, but Israel says it's the same agreement they accepted and Hamas rejected three weeks ago.

Efforts to cement the ceasefire into a lasting truce could prove difficult with the sides far apart on key demands, and each rejecting the other's legitimacy. Hamas rejects Israel's existence, and vows to destroy it, while Israel denounces Hamas as a terrorist group with whom it eschews any ties.

In addition to the truce, Palestinians have demanded a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, an end to the blockade of the impoverished enclave and release of prisoners including those arrested in a June crackdown when three teenagers were kidnapped and killed, demands Israel has resisted in the past.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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