Israel, Hamas begin ceasefire

Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have put an end to 11 days of deadly violence. A ceasefire is now in effect. Other nations have pledged support, but there are fears both sides would retaliate if the agreement is broken.

People poured into the streets of the Gaza Strip to celebrate.

Over the past 11 days, the fighting has led to a humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli government called the ceasefire "mutual and unconditional."

The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas. Israel said its targeted strikes crippled the Palestinian militant group.
But its leadership denies that, claiming Hamas will continue its resistance.

The deal was mediated by Egypt at the request of the United States. President Joe Biden said, "I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged both sides to look toward the next stage of the process. He said, "I stress that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict."

Countries around the world had pushed for an end to the fighting.

Japan says it hopes the ceasefire will lead to long-term stability in Gaza. Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said, "We will continue to help Israel and Palestine build mutual trust and will actively get involved in providing humanitarian assistance and support for reconstruction."

Egyptian state television reported that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said delegations will be sent to Israel and Palestine to monitor the ceasefire.

But the long-standing issues that led to these hostilities remain unresolved, including competing claims for Jerusalem.

Previous ceasefires have failed within days.

There have been 232 deaths in Gaza, while 12 have died in Israel since the fighting began.