Israel and Hamas militants announced a cease-fire Thursday.
The move ended an 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, killed at least 230 Palestinians there and halted life in much of Israel.
The office of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel accepted an Egyptian proposal after a late-night meeting of his security cabinet. Hamas quickly followed and said it would honor the deal.
In a statement, Netanyahu’s office praised the “significant achievements” of the military operation. It also warned Hamas that “the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”
Taher Nounou, a Hamas official, confirmed the deal. “The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed,” he said.
Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency said the truce would take effect at 2300 hours UTC. That is about three hours after the announcement. The agreement would end the heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas since a 50-day war in 2014.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his part in negotiating the cease-fire. Biden also praised Israel for ending the hostilities.
Biden added, “the United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself.” And he said the U.S. will work with international partners and the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, to provide humanitarian aid to people in Gaza.
Both Israel and the United States officially consider Hamas a terrorist group and Hamas’ government is not internationally recognized.
The war started on May 10. Hamas militants fired rockets at Jerusalem after hundreds of Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli troops during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, Israel was planning to remove Palestinian families from an east Jerusalem neighborhood that its military captured after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
The Israeli military said Hamas and other armed groups had fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza over the past week. Israel's missile defense system intercepted most of them, it said.
Twelve people in Israel, including a five-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, were also killed.
The Gaza health ministry said at least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded. Hamas and the militant group Islamic Jihad said at least 20 of their fighters were killed. Israel said the number was at least 130.
An estimated 58,000 Palestinians also fled their homes. Many sought shelter in crowded United Nations schools. International organizations reported that the Israeli bombing has also damaged schools and hospitals across the territory.
I’m Mario Ritter, Jr.
Hai Do wrote this report for VOA Learning English with additional material from the AP and Reuters. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
significant –adj. very important; large enough to be noticed or have an effect
achievement –n. something that has been done or gained through effort or hard work
determine –v. to decide, to be the cause of
intercept - v. to stop and catch something before it gets there
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