A man celebrate in the streets following a ceasefire brokered by Egypt between Israel and the ruling Islamist movement Hamas, Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )
The development followed growing US and international pressure on both sides to call off their military operations
A tentative ceasefire between Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip went into effect at 2 am local time on Friday to halt an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.
A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional … ceasefire.” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also confirmed the ceasefire deal.
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The development followed growing US and international pressure on both sides to call off a military operation that pounded the Gaza Strip with airstrikes.
Hamas also fired rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas in Israel.
According to reports from the scene, people poured onto the streets of Gaza, celebrating the truce which began at 2:00 am local time.
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Speaking to thousands of people celebrating the ceasefire in Gaza City, a senior Hamas figure has claimed victory in the conflict with Israel, according to AFP news agency.
“This is the euphoria of victory,” said Khalil al-Hayya, the second most senior member of the group’s political bureau in the Gaza Strip. He also promised to reconstruct homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.
Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any violations by the other.
At least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.
(With inputs from agencies)