Israel and Hamas announce Gaza ceasefire

Israeli security cabinet and Hamas agree to Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to halt 11 days of fighting.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday to halt 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendations to accept an Egyptian initiative for an unconditional … ceasefire.”

Palestinians sit amidst the damage in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes in Gaza [Mohammed Salem/AP]
Palestinians sit amidst the damage in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes in Gaza [Mohammed Salem/AP]

Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad then confirmed the ceasefire in a statement, saying it would come into force at 2:00am on Friday (23:00 GMT on Thursday).

Netanyahu’s office said the two sides were still negotiating exactly when it would take effect.

At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in 11 days of Israeli bombardment.

On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate as ceasefire takes hold

Palestinians in Ramallah celebrated as a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took hold in the early morning hours of Friday, reported Al Jazeera correspondent Safwat al-Kahlout who described the sounds of fireworks and gun shoots into the air.

Palestinian factions are calling the ceasefire a victory and words of praise to Allah were being broadcast from mosque loudspeakers, al-Kahlout said.

A senior Hamas official planned to visit a Gaza family that had lost 45 members in three residential buildings destroyed by Israeli bombing and would give a speech, he said.

“Thousands of people went into the street to celebrate,” al-Kahlout said.

By : Zaheena Rasheed, Linah Alsaafin and Usaid Siddiqui – AL JAZEERA

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