A 12-hour truce is underway after Israel and Palestinian militant groups agreed to U.N. pleas for a pause in fighting. Paul Chapman reports.
Smoke from a further pounding of Gaza hung in the air as a 12-hour truce began on Saturday. It's a brief humanitarian break in the fighting after Israel and Palestinian militant groups agreed to appeals by the U.N. Gaza's Health Ministry said 18 Palestinians from a single family were killed when an Israeli tank shell hit their house shortly before the truce began. The deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the conflict to 881 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel said 37 of its troops and three civilians have died in the same period. Despite the short truce Israel said it would continue its search for tunnels used by the militants. The military says it's found 23 since the Gaza offensive began on July 8 and six have so far been destroyed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who's in Egypt to help push for an end to the fighting, on Friday appealed for a longer truce to coincide with the end of Ramadan. (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING: "At this moment we're working toward a brief seven days of peace, seven days of humanitarian ceasefire in honour of Eid, in order to be able to bring people together to try to work to create a more durable, sustainable ceasefire for the long run." The search for a breakthrough was due to continue on Saturday in Paris involving diplomats from the U.S. Britain, Germany, Italy, the European Union, Turkey and Qatar.