Gaza truce comes into effect | Bangkok Post: news

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Gaza truce comes into effect

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GAZA CITY: A ceasefire came into effect Wednesday in and around Gaza after a week of cross-border violence between Israel and Palestinian militants that killed at least 160 people. 

Truce in Gaza: A ceasefire came into effect Wednesday in and around Gaza after a week of cross-border violence between Israel and Palestinian militants. (AFP Photo) Gaza City's streets were dark and deserted in the minutes after the ceasefire began at 1900 GMT (2am Thursday Thaland time) and Israeli drones could be heard overhead, but soon after people poured out onto the streets to hail the "victory."Heavy celebratory gunfire could be heard throughout the Gaza Strip, and residents also released fireworks into the night sky, where Israeli drones could still be heard buzzing overhead."The resistance has triumphed," some shouted, alongside chants of "God is greatest."Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr of Egypt, which brokered the ceasefire in days of marathon talks, announced the cessation of hostilities at a joint news conference in Cairo with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.The accord, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, calls on Israel to "stop all hostilities... in the land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals" and urges the Palestinian factions to end "rocket attacks and all attacks along the border".If it holds, within 24 hours, Israel would be required to start implementing procedures to open Gaza's border crossings and allow the movement of people and goods."This is a critical moment for the region," Clinton said. "In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners in the region to consolidate this progress."Nearly 24 hours after a truce had been expected to take hold, and after a day of violence that killed another 18 Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said he was prepared to give peace a chance."Netanyahu spoke with (US) President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give a chance to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and thereby give an opportunity for the stabilisation of the situation and a calming of it," said a statement.It won him praise from Obama."The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which the president recommended the prime minster do, while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself," the White House said.The agreement came after a day of shuttle diplomacy -- led by Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon -- which was marred by more deadly cross-border violence between Israel and militants in Gaza.Hopes for a truce appeared to have been faint just hours earlier as a...

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