Jerusalem: Israeli ground forces will completely withdraw from the Gaza Strip before a 72-hour Egyptian-mediated ceasefire, which began at 3pm on Tuesday (AEST), a military spokesman said.
"The Israel Defence Forces will be redeployed in defensive positions outside the Gaza Strip and we will maintain those defensive positions," Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said.
Citing briefings from the military, Israel Radio and Army Radio also announced that ground forces have completed their main war mission of destroying cross-border tunnels dug by Palestinian militants.
At least 32 of the underground passages – and dozens of access shafts – were located and blown up, Israel Radio and Army Radio said.
Just hours before the ceasefire started, the Gaza conflict arrived in deadly form in Jerusalem. In two separate attacks, a Palestinian man killed an Israeli while overturning a bus with a construction vehicle in West Jerusalem and a few hours later a gunman wounded a soldier in an attack in East Jerusalem. Both attacks appeared to be a backlash against Israel's Gaza war.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility but a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, said: "We praise the heroic and brave operations in Jerusalem, which come as a natural reaction to the crimes and massacres by the occupation against our people in Gaza."
There were no passengers on the bus, in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of the city. Police identified the driver of the digger as a Palestinian from East Jerusalem and described the incident as a terrorist attack. Police officers shot him dead.
Several hours later, a gunmen fired at a soldier, wounding him in the stomach. Police said the assailant then jumped on a waiting motorcycle and sped away.
Both sides remained sceptical of the new 72-hour ceasefire, though there was hope it would hold after the IDF announced it was withdrawing all its ground forces from the Palestinian enclave before an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire.
The apparent truce breakthrough came during talks in Cairo on Monday, only days after a similar three-day truce collapsed in a deadly wave of violence within hours of starting on Friday.
Images of the bloodshed – which has cost more than 1800 Palestinian lives, and 64 Israeli soldiers in and near Gaza and four civilians in Israel – have sent tensions in the region soaring, earning the Jewish state strong criticism.
"How many more deaths will it take to stop what must be called the carnage in Gaza?" French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius asked, as Britain said it was reviewing licences to sell arms to Israel.
The Abbott government has backed calls for a full investigation into what it calls the "indefensible shelling" of three United Nations schools in Gaza.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Tuesday condemned the attacks, describing them as "shocking", and said she was "deeply troubled by the suffering being endured by the Palestinian population in Gaza".
But Ms Bishop said the Australian government still supported Israel's right to defend itself from attacks from Hamas and other militants as "no country should have to tolerate arbitrary and indiscriminate attacks upon its civilian population by rocket fire and infiltration through tunnels".
Israel and Hamas have separately confirmed they have agreed to abide by the new 72-hour ceasefire.
"Israel will be honouring the ceasefire from tomorrow [Tuesday] at 8am," an Israeli official said.
A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, said: "Hamas informed Cairo a few minutes ago of their approval of the truce for 72 hours from tomorrow."
Israel launched the military operation against rocket-firing militants in Gaza on July 8 and nine days later it sent ground troops into the enclave to destroy the network of sophisticated tunnels.
Agence France-Presse, Reuters