Israel-Gaza crisis
An undercover Israeli police officer holds a gun in the air as another detains a Palestinian suspected of throwing stones in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz during a protest against the Israeli offensive on GazaReuters

The 12-hour truce agreed by both Hamas and Israel to facilitate humanitarian efforts has come into force alongside the continuing tensions.

The temporary ceasefire began at 08:00am local time (05:00 GMT) but both sides remain cautious against any attack from either camp.

"The Palestinians who evacuated their homes won't be able to return during the ceasefire. The IDF will continue to search for and destroy smuggling tunnels," said Major General Yoav Mordechai, who is coordinating Israeli efforts in the West Bank.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said: "We will respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians."

Just hours prior to the ceasefire agreement, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon warned of intensifying the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"You [Israeli soldiers] need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will instruct the military to significantly broaden the ground operation in Gaza."

Negotiations are also on to implement a longer ceasefire, but the task is said to be daunting given the volatile situation.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to travel to Paris to hold talks with his Qatari and Turkish counterparts urging 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."

According to Israel's health ministry, so far at least 870 Palestinians have been killed and more 5,700 injured in the nine-day-long conflict. On the Israeli side, 35 soldiers have been killed.