Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas enters into force
A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups controlling the Gaza Strip entered into force on Friday at 2 a.m. local time.
Al-Aqsa TV reports that the "resistance victory" is being celebrated in the Gaza Strip, while hundreds of people took to streets in Ramallah with Palestinian flags to mark the end of the hostilities, fireworks are being launched.
The truce was achieved after 11 days of intense rocket fire between the parties under Egypt’s active mediation. On Thursday, Israel’s Security Cabinet adopted a unilateral ceasefire at its special session, while Hamas agreed to the ceasefire with Cairo’s mediation.
According to Egypt’s state TV, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi gave instructions on Thursday to dispatch two delegations to Palestine and Israel to monitor the ceasefire. An official source in Cairo said, "one group is already in Ramallah, it was conducting contacts with the Palestinian side to achieve a ceasefire, the second will urgently head off to Tel Aviv." Egyptian envoys will observe and monitor the implementation of the agreements as well as discussions over the next steps which will make it possible to maintain stability permanently, TASS reported.
Meanwhile, the parties were exchanging fire until the very last moment as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported more rocket strikes from Gaza just 12 minutes before the ceasefire started.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the truce and urged “both sides to consolidate it and stabilise the situation in the long term.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also welcomed a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel on Thursday and urged all sides to observe the truce.
European Council President Charles Michel had similar words, tweeting: “Welcome announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ending the 11-day conflict. Opportunity for peace and security for citizens must be seized.”
While welcoming a unilateral ceasefire by Israel, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said it is not enough because Jerusalem remains the key issue.
The exchange of rocket fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip began on May 10 and was triggered by riots at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police erupted after an Israeli court had ruled to evict several Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and hand the property over to Jewish settlers. According to latest data, 232 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and at least 12 Israelis have been killed.