Conflicts & War

Israel, Gaza wake to calm for first time in nearly two weeks

(Update 1: adds details of situation Friday morning)

Jerusalem, May 21 (EFE).- Israel and Gaza awoke Friday to the first calm morning after 11 days of violent bombardment after a cease-fire came into force.

The ceasefire went into effect Friday at 2 am local time (23:00 GMT). Since then, no air raid sirens have sounded, and there has not been any rocket fire by Palestinian militants towards Israel nor Israeli Defense Force attacks on Gaza.

After seven hours of calm, the armed forces lifted most of the security and movement restrictions that had been in place, especially in the area bordering Gaza, although schools and other educational institutions remained closed Friday in the south and center of the country, the Times of Israel reported.

Police reopened Israeli roads near the Strip that had been closed as a precaution against possible firing of anti-tank missiles from the enclave, it added.

The truce ended 11 days of escalating violence that left 232 Palestinians dead in Gaza and another 12 people dead in Israel.

Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem celebrated in the streets the ceasefire that they viewed as a victory against Israel.

Israel has also proclaimed success by considering that its “Operation Guardians of the Walls” recorded “great accomplishments” against Gaza militant targets.

Negotiated by Egypt, the truce proposal was agreed to on Thursday by the two parties as “mutual and simultaneous,” although the terms are not yet known.

The clashes have seen the worst violence since the 2014 war, sparking in occupied East Jerusalem and spreading to the West Bank and mixed cities in Israel.

Beyond the military escalation that ended Friday, the spread of violence throughout the rest of the region during these 11 days and the civil confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis seem to have opened a new chapter in the region. EFE

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