A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took hold in the early hours of Friday morning after the worst violence in years, with U.S. President Joe Biden joining the United Nations in urging renewed dialogue between the two combatants.
Israel’s defensive response to the 11-day bombardment by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror rockets killed 232 Palestinians, damaged thousands of homes and disabled critical infrastructure. Gaza attacks killed 12 people in Israel and wounded hundreds.
The fighting, which started with Palestinian riots in Jerusalem that were escalated by massive terror rocket barrages directed at Israel’s cities, saw the IDF destroy much of the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, while also protecting its own citizens using the Iron Dome missile defense system, as Breitbart News reported.
It's not easy fighting a terrorist organization that embeds its military infrastructure in civilian areas.
We use the latest military technology to precisely strike Hamas targets, while minimizing damage to the surrounding areas.
Take a look: pic.twitter.com/oSXDZTVZlW
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 20, 2021
Reuters reports mosque loud-speakers applauded the claimed Hamas win as “the victory of the resistance achieved over the Occupation (Israel).” Cars driving around East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah at dawn flew Palestinian flags and honked horns, echoing the scenes in Gaza.
The cease-fire was brokered by neighboring Egypt after the U.S. pressed Israel to wind down the offensive. Netanyahu announced Israel had accepted the proposal late Thursday, while emphasizing that “the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”
In the countdown to the 2 a.m. (2300 GMT Thursday) end to hostilities, Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike.
Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, cast the fighting as a successful foray against the Jewish state even as casualties on its own side mounted.
Israeli missile kills Islamic jihad commander. "He won't be committing any more terrorist attacks." https://t.co/LwiGAikJli
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 18, 2021
“It is true the battle ends today but Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance,” said Ezzat El-Reshiq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, referring to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
El-Reshiq told Reuters in Doha the movement’s demands included protecting the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and ending the eviction of several Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to visit the region in the coming days “to discuss recovery efforts and working together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians.” the State Department said.
AP contributed to this story