Israel, Hamas begin truce to end 11 days of destruction and airstrikes killing over 240; Gaza celebrates
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Ending a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in Gaza and left over 200 people dead, Israel and Hamas on Friday agreed to a cease-fire. The ceasefire brokered by Egypt, which also included Gaza’s second-most powerful armed group, Islamic Jihad, was agreed upon on Thursday evening and came into force on Friday after international pressure to stem the bloodshed which erupted earlier this month.
However, each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other. Cairo said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire. Hamas, the Islamic militant group sworn to Israel's destruction, also claimed victory. But it now faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding in a territory already suffering from poverty, widespread unemployment and a raging coronavirus outbreak.
Netanyahu's office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal after recommendations from Israel's military chief and other top security officials.
The fighting erupted on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound, built on a site holy to Muslims and Jews, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
Hamas and other militant groups fired over 4,000 rockets into Israel throughout the fighting, launching the projectiles from civilian areas at Israeli cities. Dozens of projectiles flew as far north as Tel Aviv, the country's bustling commercial and cultural capital. Israel, meanwhile, carried out hundreds of airstrikes targeting what it said was Hamas' military infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network.
At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad said at least 20 of their fighters were killed, while Israel said the number was at least 130 and probably higher. Israeli attacks have also damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and destroyed one health facility, the World Health Organization said. Nearly half of all essential drugs have run out.
Israeli bombing has damaged over 50 schools across the territory, according to advocacy group Save the Children, destroying at least six. While repairs are done, education will be disrupted for nearly 42,000 children.
Meanwhile in Gaza, a Hamas spokesman, Abdelatif al-Qanou, said Israel's announcement was a “declaration of defeat.” Nonetheless, the group said it would honour the deal, which was to officially go into effect at 2 am.
(With Agencies Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan