House destroyed by Israeli strike in Gaza
Palestinians gather as rescue workers search for victims under the rubble of a house. Witnesses said the house was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Gaza officials claim that 18 members of the same family have been killed in an Israeli military attack in Gaza.

The fatalities came just before a 12-hour humanitarian truce in the region, which has been devastated by deadly strikes by the Israeli army and Hamas, was declared.

Gaza's health ministry said 18 relatives were among 19 people who died in the southern Gaza Strip shortly before the truce took effect at 6am UK time on Saturday.

An Israeli military said the claims were being checked.

Neighbours of the Al-Najar family, which the health ministry said had been trapped since Thursday inside their house in Khuzaa village, east of Khan Younis, watched as rescue workers removed bodies from the rubble of their home using a mechanical digger.

The Palestinian death toll has reached 940 since the conflict began on 8 July, and 5,870 people have been injured, according to officials. Thirty-eight Israelis have died during the conflict.

International talks on a longer truce are resuming in Paris.

"The goal is to bring together international efforts so that as quickly as possible conditions for a cease-fire in Gaza emerge," a French foreign ministry spokesman said.

Diplomats are trying to negotiate a longer truce. The US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to travel to Paris to hold talks with his Qatari and Turkish counterparts, and urged them to use their influence over Hamas in a bid to ease the situation.

Hoping to work out a week-long truce, Kerry told reporters in Egypt: "We still have terminology and context to work through, but we are confident we have a framework that will work, and we will continue to work for that... none of us here are stopping."

The humanitarian truce is being used to open banks and carry out maintenance work to repair damage done to the electricity and water supplies during the Israeli bombardment.