Israel continues 'defensive' action during truce

New Delhi - Israel will keep up "defensive" operations against tunnels during a 72-hour truce in Gaza, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.

Kerry, announcing the ceasefire deal in the early morning on a visit to India, said Israel and Hamas will "cease all offensive military activities and neither side will advance beyond its current locations".

"Israel will be able to continue its defensive operations for those tunnels that are behind its lines, and the Palestinians will be able to receive food, medicine and additional humanitarian assistance as well as to be able to tend to their wounded", the top US diplomat told reporters.

A senior US official said Israel would make clear to the United Nations where its military lines are drawn in Gaza.

"They will continue to do operations to destroy tunnels that pose a threat to Israeli territory, as long as those tunnels exist on the Israeli side of their lines", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Israel launched the military operation in response to rocket fire by Hamas, which effectively controls the Gaza Strip, but more recently has vowed to pursue its campaign until it destroys tunnels through which militants can infiltrate.