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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Israel, Hamas Cease-Fire Begins After 11 Days of Conflict

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Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a cease-fire that began early Friday following pressure from the U.S. and its allies to end 11 days of fighting.

Israel’s cabinet voted late Thursday to accept an Egyptian-brokered bilateral cease-fire without any conditions, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

Hamas leader Osama Hamdan confirmed the cease-fire.

The intense barrages from both sides, over nearly two weeks, were the worst since the most recent of three wars between Israel and Hamas in 2014. The clashes over the past 11 days claimed the lives of more than 200 people in total, with most in Gaza.

Amid growing global alarm at the bloodshed, Biden had urged Netanyahu to seek de-escalation, while Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations sought to mediate.

Extending condolences to bereaved Israelis and Palestinians, Biden said Washington would work with the United Nations “and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance” for the reconstruction of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

He said aid would be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority – run by Hamas’ rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, and based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank – “in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal”.

The United States was also committed to replenishing Iron Dome interceptors that helped Israel fend off the more than 4,300 rockets fired at it from Gaza during the this month’s conflict.

Hamas said the ceasefire would be “mutual and simultaneous”.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter that the Gaza offensive had yielded “unprecedented military gains”.

Speaking to his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin, Gantz said Israel’s defence establishment would “continue to work closely and in full cooperation with the Pentagon and the U.S. administration to stabilise the region,” Gantz’s office said.

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. Israel said it had killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.

Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.

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