The Israeli military said on Wednesday it would hold fire unilaterally in limited areas of the Gaza Strip for four hours from 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) for humanitarian purposes, an army statement said. Hamas described the truce as a media stunt because it only applied to some areas. "IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has authorized a temporary window in the Gaza Strip. The humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which IDF soldiers are currently operating," the Israeli statement said.
France has evacuated nearly 50 French and British citizens from Libya by ship, French authorities said on Wednesday, amid growing lawlessness and unrest in the north African country. The French chief of staff said 40 French nationals and seven Britons were pulled out in the overnight operation and would be taken to the southern French port city of Toulon. The French ambassador was among those who left and the embassy has been temporarily closed, said foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani. France had on Monday advised its nationals -- of whom less than 100 remained in Libya -- to leave the country immediately and contact the embassy for evacuation.
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted" on Wednesday and said they would only aggravate ties between Russia and the United States, already at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War over the Ukraine crisis. "Such decisions by Washington can bring nothing but further aggravation of U.S.-Russia relations and create an utterly unfavorable environment in international affairs, where the cooperation between our states often plays a decisive role," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The de-facto losses from this destructive and short-sighted policy will be quite tangible for Washington." The United States and the European Union announced new sanctions against Russian banks, energy and defense firms on Tuesday, in carefully coordinated action against what they call Russia's instigation of a separatist uprising in Ukraine. The targets of new sanctions include VTB, Bank of Moscow and Russian Agriculture Bank, the U.S. Treasury said.