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World

Israel agrees to ceasefire after 11-day destruction

  • 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."
Updated 21 May 2021

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into force early Friday after 11 days of deadly fighting.

As cries of “Allah Akbar”, or “God is the greatest”, blasted from loudspeakers of mosques all over the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate. Footage broadcast by the Arab networks including Al-Jazeera showed large gatherings of people in Gaza and other Palestinian cities who were chanting, honking horns, launching fireworks, and shooting in the air.

The ceasefire brokered by Egypt and Turkey was agreed upon following mounting international pressure to stem the bloodshed which erupted on May 10.

US President Joe Biden welcomed the deal.

“I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working toward it,” Biden said at the White House, hailing Egypt’s role in brokering the agreement.

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 then confirmed the ceasefire in a statement, saying it would come into force at 2300 GMT.

The Israeli aerial and artillery onslaught has killed more than 230 people in Gaza, and badly damaged the impoverished territory’s infrastructure, including the fresh water and sewer systems, the electrical grid, hospitals, schools and roads, according to a report in the New York Times.

In a statement, Israel said its aerial campaign had made “unprecedented” achievements in Gaza, a territory it has blockaded since 2007, the year of Hamas’s takeover.

“The political leadership emphasizes that it is the reality on the ground that will determine the future of the operation,” it added. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he would be “prepared at any time to go to Israel, to the Middle East, if that would serve the purpose of moving beyond the violence and helping to work on improving lives for Israelis and Palestinians alike”.

Fighting erupted earlier this month after weeks of tensions in Jerusalem, notably over planned evictions of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem to make way for settler-colonial entity residents, and clashes at the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

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