GAZA CITY — The Israeli military says all its ground troops will have pulled out of the Gaza Strip by the start of the cease-fire agreed to by both sides in the war.
The announcement came after Israel and Hamas accepted a three-day cease-fire proposal from Egypt to begin Tuesday morning, even after several earlier attempts at a truce collapsed within a few hours.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says the troop withdrawal will be completed by 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Tuesday, the start time for the 72-hour cease-fire. He said the withdrawal is possible because Israel has completed the destruction of 32 cross-border tunnels meant to allow Islamic militants to carry out attacks against Israel.
Should the cease-fire hold, Egypt was preparing to host indirect talks to work out a long-term agreement over the next three days.
When the cease-fire starts, "Israel will cease all military operations against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said late Monday. "Israel will honor the cease-fire and will be watching to see if Hamas does too."
A delegation of Palestinian officials from various factions, including Hamas, has been negotiating with Egypt in recent days. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group accepted the cease-fire plan.
"It's clear now that the interest of all parties is to have a cease-fire," said Bassam Salhi, a member of the Palestinian delegation. "It's going to be tough negotiations because Israel has demands, too."
Several previous cease-fires have failed, including a similar plan last Friday for a 72-hour truce that broke down in heavy fighting.
"We will be putting first on our agenda preventing Hamas from rearming," Regev said about continued negotiations. "Ultimately the Palestinians have a written commitment that Gaza should be demilitarized, and it's time the international community held them to that commitment."
The fighting began July 8 when Israel launched an air campaign in response to heavy rocket fire out of Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas militant group. Since the weekend, Israel has been winding down its ground operation that started July 17 to destroy tunnels it says are used by Hamas to carry out attacks. The bulk of Israel's troops in Gaza have pulled out as its mission to destroy Hamas tunnels nears completion, the military said. However, it has kept up its heavy aerial bombardments of Gaza.
The new temporary truce came after Israel held what it called a seven-hour "humanitarian" cease-fire on Monday. After that, though, airstrikes resumed on Gaza and an attack on a bus in Jerusalem killed one person.
In the Jerusalem assault, a man rammed the front end of a construction excavator into an Israeli bus, which police described as a "terrorist attack," indicating Palestinian involvement.
The attack occurred on a main thoroughfare near the unofficial line between Jewish west Jerusalem and east Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967 and which is home to most of the city's Arab population. Israeli news media said the attacker came from an Arab area of the city.
Israel's Channel 10 TV showed cellphone video of what it said was the attack, with the yellow excavator slamming its large shovel into the bus. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a police officer in the area opened fire and killed the attacker. A pedestrian also was killed, Jerusalem district police chief Yossi Piranti said.
In the past, Palestinian attackers have gone on deadly rampages with bulldozers in Jerusalem traffic. In 2008 a similar attack carried out by an east Jerusalem Arab left three Israelis dead and 30 wounded.
"Because of the quick reaction of the police an even graver incident was avoided," Piranti said.
Shortly after the excavator attack, Israeli media reported that a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded an Israeli soldier. Police searched for the shooter in east Jerusalem.
"We believe there is a great likelihood this was a terrorist attack," Piranti said.
The brief lull was called to allow aid through to Gaza, but Israel's military said it did not apply to areas where its troops were still operating. The military had said it would respond to any attacks.
Early Monday, an Israeli airstrike killed Daniel Mansour, a commander of the Islamic Jihad group, a close ally of Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.
After Israel announced it was resuming attacks on targets in Gaza, Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra said an airstrike near a desalination plant in Rafah killed three people, including a 12-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister.
Earlier, an Israeli strike hit a house at the Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, killing three people and wounding at least 30, al-Kidra said. The Israeli military said it targeted an "operative threat" and rocket fire in the strike.
Gaza police said Israeli air, tank and navy gunboat fire targeted houses, agricultural plots and open areas. Israeli jet fighters destroyed three mosques, nine houses and a warehouse for construction material, police said.
Gaza's Health Ministry says that since the conflict started July 8 more than 1,880 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians. The Israeli military says that more than 60 of its soldiers have been killed in fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under international pressure to halt the fighting because of the heavy civilian death toll.
On Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called an Israeli airstrike on a school that killed 10 people a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and demanded a quick investigation.
Although most Israelis back the government's operation in Gaza, some Israelis are skeptical about the government's stated mission to destroy the Hamas tunnel system.
"It's confusing to be a civilian in a situation where you don't really know if they are really considered a threat, these tunnels," said Tehila Ezrahi, 36, in Jerusalem. "Or if it's just something that they are just saying in order to justify what they are doing."
Kotsev reported from Istanbul. Contributing: Jennifer Collins in Berlin, Michele Chabin in Jerusalem; the Associated Press