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Israel agrees to ‘humanitarian pauses’ in war with Hamas, White House says

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Israeli officials agreed Thursday to pause fighting in Northern Gaza for four hours a day to allow for civilians to leave as fighting in the war with Hamas continues, White House officials said.

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National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced the decision to reporters on Thursday morning. He said Israel plans to announce each of the pauses at least three hours in advance, The Associated Press reported.

“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause and that this process is starting today,” he said, according to CNN. He called the pauses “steps in the right direction.”

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he has been pushing for a three-day pause in fighting to help secure the release of hostages being held by Hamas.

“I’ve asked for a pause longer than three days,” he told reporters.

In a post on social media, Israel Defense Forces highlighted that the announced pauses do not amount to a ceasefire.

“There are tactical, long pauses for humanitarian aid for Gazan civilians,” military officials said. “These tactical pauses are limited in time and area.”

Fighting has been ongoing since Hamas militants launched surprise attacks on Oct. 7. Two days after the attacks, Israel began a siege of Gaza, blocking food, water, electricity and fuel from the area. Officials have since allowed limited humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Since the start of the conflict, more than 10,000 people have died, according to NPR.

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