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Palestinians celebrate as ceasefire goes into effect over Gaza

May 21, 2021 at 10:39 am

Mosques across the Gaza Strip hailed a “victory” and prayers could be heard across the enclave as a ceasefire took hold in Gaza at 2am local time (11pm GMT), bringing to an end to 11 days of the fiercest bombing campaign the Strip has come under since 2014.

More than 230 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s brutal attack which started on 10 May, including 65 children. A further 1,700 were injured, while many thousand lost their homes. Twelve Israelis were also killed.

Palestinians could be seen dropped to the floor in prostration by way of thanks to God. Celebrations reverberated across the besieged Strip, in the occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem, where fireworks were set off, cars lined the streets with drivers honking.

Many worshippers heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for morning prayers also prostrated in thanks for the safety of their brothers and sisters in Gaza.

The truce took hold after the Israeli cabinet agreed to the “mutual and unconditional” ceasefire proposed by Egypt.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad also confirmed the “mutual and simultaneous” agreement.

Commenting on the ceasefire, UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres said: “Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.”

He added that the UN was ready to help both parties return to “meaningful negotiations” on a two-state settlement.

Palestinian activists, however, called on the international community to continue to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinians living under occupation and under Israel’s ethnic cleaning policies.

“Just because there’s a ceasefire, doesn’t mean the death & destruction has ended, doesn’t mean the blockade is lifted, doesn’t mean those who lost their entires families will be rectified. We must continue to our campaign to end the brutal siege and colonialism. #FreePalestine,” Sheikh Jarrah resident Mohammed El-Kurd said on Twitter.

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