Israel and Hamas agree 72-hour truce to stop fighting

Last updated at 10:26
Smoke rises over Gaza City after an Israeli strike minutes before the time agreed for a preliminary 72-hour ceasefire, on Tuesday Aug, 5, 2014AP
Israeli forces staged raids in Gaza shortly before the truce began, while militants fired rockets into Israel

Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour truce to stop fighting in Gaza.

The Israeli military says it's withdrawn all its troops from the area, in the Middle East, after four weeks of heavy fighting between the two sides.

The ceasefire began at 6am our time.

Israelis and Arabs have been fighting over Gaza on and off, for decades.

Displaced Palestinians leave a United Nations school in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip to return to their homes on August 5, 2014, after a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip came into effectAFP
Displaced Palestinians have started returning to their homes in Gaza

Israel claims the main aim of the current conflict - to destroy militants' tunnels - has been achieved.

Gaza officials say the month long conflict has killed 1,800 Palestinians. Some 67 Israelis have also died.

There have been several attempts to stop the fighting before now but none have secured peace.

Find out more about why Israel and the Palestinians are fighting over Gaza