JERUSALEM  - Israel said Thursday it had agreed on a truce with Hamas to end 10 days of violence in Gaza, although the reported deal was denied by the movement.

News of a fresh attempt to end the worst bloodshed in the Gaza Strip in five years came during a five-hour humanitarian truce, under which both Israel and Hamas militants had agreed to hold their fire.

As relative calm returned to the skies over Gaza for the first time since July 8, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was due to meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Cairo pushed regional efforts to broker a new ceasefire deal.

Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children on Thursday, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians.

One strike hit the Sabra neighbourhood of central Gaza, killing three children - Jihad, Waseem and Fulla - from the Shuheiber family, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

An earlier Egyptian attempt to end hostilities collapsed on Tuesday, with Hamas claiming it had not been included in the negotiations.  Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official told AFP the Jewish state and Hamas “have agreed on a ceasefire” that would begin at 0300 GMT on Friday. But Hamas shot down the report.

“The news about a ceasefire is incorrect. There are continuing efforts but no agreement until now,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP in Gaza.

Lebanon filed a complaint on Thursday against Israel at the UN Security Council, saying it had violated its sovereignty by opening fire on its territory in retaliation for rocket attacks. The foreign ministry said Israel fired 102 shells at Lebanon between July 11 and 14, during the ongoing war between Israel and Gaza, describing this as “repeated and dangerous violations”.

The two sides had agreed to temporarily suspend hostilities, with a senior UN official saying the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza would be opened to allow in medical aid.  In Gaza City, the streets immediately filled with honking cars and traffic jams, and outside banks, hundreds of people massed by ATMs to withdraw money to buy supplies.  “It’s not enough. People need to go out and get supplies and to get their belongings. It should have been from 7:00 am until dusk,” Mohamed Nasr told AFP.

Just moments before the humanitarian truce began at 0700 GMT, Israeli tank fire killed three people in southern Gaza, Palestinian medics said.

Meanwhile in Cairo, truce discussions were ongoing after the collapse of an earlier attempt to end hostilities on Tuesday that was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas, which said it had not been consulted.

An Israeli delegation that had been in the Egyptian capital was understood to have returned to Jerusalem, although officials were tightlipped on the substance of their talks. 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday launched his most bitter attack yet against Israel over its air campaign in the Gaza Strip, accusing the Jewish State of seeking a “systematic genocide” of the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, former US president Bill Clinton has warned Israel about “isolating itself from world opinion” due to repeated conflicts in Gaza after four children were killed on a beach in the latest violence.

More than 220 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have died during 10 days of Israeli bombing and shelling in Gaza in retaliation for over 1,200 rocket attacks from Hamas militants.

“Over the long run it is not good for Israel to keep isolating itself from world opinion because of the absence of a viable peace process,” Clinton told the Indian NDTV news channel on Wednesday.

“In the short to medium term, Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas,” he added.