Celebrations In Gaza As Truce Takes Effect

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Palestinians having been celebrating the truce as a victory over Israel

A ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement that runs the Gaza Strip appears to be holding on.

Israel radio said some rockets had been fired from Gaza, but there was no sign of an Israeli response.

Thousands of Gaza residents poured on to the streets to celebrate, waving flags and setting off fireworks during the night.

The UN Security Council has called on Israel and Hamas to uphold the agreement, brokered by Egypt.

Overnight, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said it had arrested 55 “terror operatives” in the West Bank, including some at a senior level, in an effort to “restore calm”.
There have been a number of protests in the West Bank in the past week against Israel’s Gaza operation, with some protesters clashing with Israeli soldiers.

In its first statement since the current flare-up began, the Security Council also commended Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and others involved in the diplomatic effort.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has been meeting regional leaders during the conflict, welcomed the ceasefire and said it was urgent that humanitarian aid be delivered to Gaza.

“We are all aware that there are many details that must be solidified for a broad, durable ceasefire to take firm hold over the longer term,” he said.
“It is imperative that both sides stick to the ceasefire in order to allow these underlying issues to be addressed.”

A total of five Israelis and more than 150 Palestinians have died since the outbreak of violence began last week.

The Israeli military said three rockets had been fired from Gaza since the ceasefire came into effect, two of which were shot down by the Iron Dome defence system. It said there had been no fire in either direction since midnight.

In the early stages of the ceasefire, success will be measured from minute to minute.
The more time that passes without rocket fire from Gaza or an air raid from Israel, the more confident civilians on both sides will feel.

In the deal, Israel has agreed to end all hostilities and targeted killings, while all Palestinian factions will have to stop firing rockets into Israel and staging border attacks.
Israel must also begin talks about opening Gaza’s border crossings and easing restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

The truce has been received warmly by Hamas as a victory on their side while some Israelis have denounced it.

Israel launched its offensive, which it says was aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza, with the killing of a Hamas military leader.

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