05/21/2021, 09.38
ISRAEL PALESTINE
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Israel and Hamas sign truce with Egyptian mediation

The cry “Allah Akbar” rings out from the loudspeakers of the mosques of the Strip.  Tens of thousands of people in the Strip and Palestine celebrate the ceasefire.  In 11 days of fighting 232 Palestinian victims, including 65 minors.  In Israel 12 dead, two children.  Satisfaction from the UN and the United States.

 

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Overnight, with the mediation of Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas reached an agreement for a truce after 11 days of intense bombing that caused hundreds of deaths, including children.  In recent days, a leader of the extremist movement that dominates the Strip had announced that the ceasefire would be reached "in days", while on the ground in Gaza the situation appears dramatic with collapsing hospitals for war victims who add up to Covid patients.

The shout "Allah Akbar" (God is great) rang out from the loudspeakers of the mosques of the Strip, while tens of thousands of people poured into the square to celebrate the end of yet another lightning conflict.  Several Arab broadcasters showed the images of people celebrating on the streets.  The celebrations also involved several cities in Palestine, with fireworks, carhorns, trumpets and gunshots in the air.

The Egypt-brokered ceasefire, which also includes Islamic Jihad, the Strip's second fighting group, is the result of growing international pressure in an attempt to stop the bloodbath.  Since the fighting began on 10 May, there have been at least 232 Palestinian victims in Gaza, including 65 minors, and over 1,900 injured.  Israel believes it killed at least 160 enemy fighters in the bombing.  On the other hand, the Israeli victims are 12 in all, with hundreds of injured, following rocket launches by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the ceasefire, which went into effect at 2 am local time (1 am in Italy), but at the same time asked the leaders to initiate a "serious dialogue" on  roots of the conflict.  He appealed to the international community to join the UN efforts for a "robust support package" aimed at "recovery and reconstruction".

US President Joe Biden said:" “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 recommendation of all of the security officials … to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without preconditions”.  Hamas and Islamic Jihad issued a statement confirming the acceptance of the ceasefire, after having launched over 4300 rockets towards Israeli territory, most of which were intercepted by the "Iron Dome" defense system.

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