Ceasefire in Gaza ends five days of fighting that left dozens dead – The Guardian


According to the United Nations, the hostilities have destroyed more than 50 homes and displaced around 950 people

Agence France Press in Gaza City

Sun 14 May 2023 11:41 BST

Calm has returned to Gaza after an uneasy ceasefire ended five days of fighting and left Palestinians and Israelis bearing the cost of cross-border fire that killed dozens.

Fishermen launched their boats on Sunday as Gazans emerged from their shelters amid the fierce gunfire.

Fighting erupted Tuesday as Israeli attacks on the Islamic Jihad militant group halted late Saturday after days of Egypt-led ceasefire negotiations.

As the sky grew still, residents mourned the 33 people killed in Gaza, as well as the two in Israel – a Palestinian worker from the area and an elderly Israeli.

After the Gaza ceasefire went into effect, ambulances and fire engines drove in convoy while Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate.

More than 50 houses were destroyed in Gaza and about 950 people were displaced, the United Nations reported, citing local officials.

“We are on the streets, there is no home for my children or their children,” said Mohammed al-Louh, whose home was destroyed by Israeli attacks.

“After the ceasefire, we are witnessing an ongoing tragedy due to the scale of the destruction,” his relative said.

Paramedics said 190 people were injured in Gaza and 30 in Israel, seven of whom were injured by Palestinian rocket fire and the rest were on their way to emergency shelters.

Welcoming the ceasefire, UN special envoy for the Middle East Tor Wennesland said he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries”.

Israel also reopened its two border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the closures of which had impacted Palestinians who had work permits or permission to access essential medical treatment that was not available in the area.

The move also paved the way for shipments of medicine, food and fuel to the blocked enclave.

Israel and Islamic Jihad pledged to the ceasefire, but both warned they would not hesitate to resume fire if the other side violated the agreement.

“Calm will be answered with calm,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

“If Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do whatever is necessary to defend itself.”

Tariq Salmi, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said if Israel “commits any stupid act or assassination… the resistance will pick up where it left off.”

Ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip comes into effect

Clashes continued in the occupied West Bank as calm returned to Gaza. According to an AFP photographer, Israeli forces raided central Nablus early Sunday, leading to clashes with Palestinian residents.

An army statement said troops arrested two people suspected of shooting at soldiers in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.


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