U.S. President Joe Biden speaking on the imminent Gaza ceasefire on Thursday night

Biden hails Gaza ceasefire, vows aid to both sides

President says U.S. will work with international community on 'rapid humanitarian assistance' for reconstruction of Strip, told Netanyahu that United States also committed to replenishing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system

Reuters |
Published: 05.21.21, 01:45
U.S. President Joe Biden hailed an imminent ceasefire between Israel and Gaza on Thursday night, vowing aid to both sides as they wound down 11 days of fighting.
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  • Extending condolences to bereaved Israelis and Palestinians, Biden said Washington would work with the United Nations "and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance" for the reconstruction of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
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    ג'ו ביידן
    ג'ו ביידן
    U.S. President Joe Biden speaking on the imminent Gaza ceasefire on Thursday night
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The president was speaking from the White House shortly before the ceasefire was due to take effect.
    He said aid would be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority - run by Hamas' rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, and based in the West Bank - "in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal."
    He said he had told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States was also committed to replenishing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system that helped fend off the more than 4,300 rockets fired at it from Gaza during the month's conflict.
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    ירוט מעל אשקלון
    ירוט מעל אשקלון
    Iron Dome intercepts rockets from Gaza over Ashkelon on Thursday night
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The two sides traded blows again in the countdown to the end of hostilities.
    Sirens warned of incoming rockets in Israeli communities bordering the Strip, and a man in his 50s was lightly hurt in a direct hit on an Israeli factory, medics said.
    In Gaza, a Reuters reporter heard an Israeli air strike.
    Amid growing global alarm at the bloodshed, Biden had urged Netanyahu to seek de-escalation, while Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations sought to mediate.
    The ceasefire, which Hamas said would be "mutual and simultaneous," was brokered by Egypt.
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    תקיפות צה"ל בעזה
    תקיפות צה"ל בעזה
    The aftermath of an IDF strike in Gaza on Thursday night
    (Photo: EPA)
    "The Palestinian resistance will abide by this agreement as long as the Occupation [Israel] does the same," said Taher Al-Nono, media adviser to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had ordered two security delegations into Israel and the Palestinian Territories to work towards upholding the ceasefire, Egyptian state TV reported.
    In a televised speech Abu Ubaida, spokesman of the Hamas armed wing, said: "With the help of God, we were able to humiliate the enemy, its fragile entity and its savage army."
    He threatened Hamas rocket fire that would reach throughout Israel if it violated the truce or struck Gaza before the hour of implementation.
    Rocket attacks by Hamas and the allied Islamic Jihad had resumed after an eight-hour pause earlier on Thursday, as Israel pursued shelling that it said aimed to destroy the factions' military capabilities and deter them from future confrontations after the current conflict.
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter that the Gaza offensive had yielded "unprecedented military gains."
    Speaking to his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin, Gantz said Israel's defense establishment would "continue to work closely and in full cooperation with the Pentagon and the U.S. administration to stabilize the region," Gantz's office said.
    Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza said 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, had been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments. Israel said it had killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.
    Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.
    The United Nations said its Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, was in Qatar on Thursday as part of truce efforts.

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