Euphoria in West Bank over Gaza 'victory'
The streets of the West Bank have been bustling with celebrations through the night as Palestinians hailed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal that brought a weeks-long Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip to an indefinite halt as a "victory for the resistance."

In Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Al-Manarah Square to celebrate the deal, raising Hamas flags and setting off fireworks, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.

"Today, the resistance won and broke the nose of the strongest army in the Middle East," Azaam Gomaa, an engineer, told Anadolu Agency as he joined the jubilant gathering.

Iyad Saloum, a laboratory technician, nodded in agreement. "The resistance proved that they can do what other Arab countries failed to do, even with its poor arsenal," he said. "The resistance imposed this ceasefire deal on the occupation," he added.

A similar euphoric scene was seen in the northern city of Nablus, where hundreds marched the streets in celebration, raising the Palestinian flags and Hamas banners.

"We consider the ceasefire as a victory for the Islamic nation," Alaa Abdel-Salam, a Nablus merchant, told AA.

Malek Ashour, a shop owner who also lives in Nablus, paid tribute to the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, and other resistance groups for "making the Islamic world proud."

Celebrations were also held in the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin and Tulkarm.

The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday, bringing to a halt 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the blockaded coastal enclave.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the deal called for the opening of all border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which would effectively signal the end of Israel's years-long embargo of the coastal enclave.

The ceasefire formally came into effect at 16:00 GMT Tuesday.

For the past eight weeks, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.

Since hostilities first erupted on June 7, at least 2145 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and nearly 11,000 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Thousands of homes have also been partially or completely destroyed by devastating Israeli bombardments.

Over the same period, at least 69 Israelis – 64 soldiers and five civilians – have been killed, according to Israeli figures.

The number of Palestinian fatalities from Israel's current offensive has surpassed the combined death toll from two previous operations against Gaza, including Israel's bloody "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008/09 in which at least 1500 Palestinians were killed over the course of three weeks.

AA
Last Modified: 2014-08-27 09:57:05
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