Israel and Gaza Celebrate Truce after 11 Days of Violence
Celebrations have broken out on the streets of Gaza as Hamas and Israel declare a truce following 11 days of fighting that has left hundreds dead including dozens of children.
Gazans were quick to take to the streets blaring horns and chanting as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas began on Friday at 2am local time.
There were chants of 'God is greatest and thanks to God' as many waved flags and fired rifles into the air.
During the violence that had flared up in recent weeks more than 200 Palestinians have died, including 65 children, and a dozen were killed in Israel.
In the wake of the worst flare-up of violence in years Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the end of hostilities and called on Hamas to halt the firing of rockets on Israel.
He said: "The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life.
"Hamas must end all attacks on Israel. It is also now important for Israel to facilitate rapid humanitarian access in and out of Gaza."
Many Gazans took to the street as the cease fire came into effect shouting in Arabic 'God is greatest and thanks to God.'
Cars packed Gaza's main streets, drivers blaring their horns and waving flags from the windows.
Mosque loudspeakers hailed what Hamas called "the victory the resistance achieved over the occupation during the battle of the Sword of Jerusalem."
Men fired rifles into the air, and others set off noise bombs or firecrackers. Some hugged, one calling it a "time out from the coronavirus."
"This is a great victory over the occupation. Our resistance men forced them to the ceasefire," said Ahmed Amer, 30, as he celebrated with his friends.
"Today is when Eid al-Fitr begins. Yes, we are sorry and sad for our people who lost their houses and their relatives, but despite that, we will celebrate," he said.
Another man clutching an AK-47 assault rifle said: "Our fingers are on the triggers, and we are ready to fight again, but now we will celebrate with our people," he said, refusing to give a name.
In the Israeli-occupied city of Ramallah, hundreds of people took to the streets chanting: "With souls and blood we redeem you, Gaza."
In the countdown to the cease-fire Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike.
Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other while Cairo said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire.
Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, scheduled public celebrations for what it deemed a victory over a militarily and economically stronger foe.
In Israel, relief was bittersweet.
"It's good that the conflict will end, but unfortunately I don't feel like we have much time before the next escalation," Eiv Izyaev, a 30-year-old software engineer, said in Tel Aviv.
Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza said 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, had been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments.
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