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Israel-Hamas ceasefire takes effect, holds

Israel-Hamas ceasefire takes effect, holds

PanARMENIAN.Net - Israel and Hamas have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accord to end a week of violence that resulted in nearly 160 deaths.

The ceasefire between appeared to be holding on Thursday, Nov 22. Israel radio said some rockets had been fired from Gaza, but there was no sign of an Israeli response., according to BBC News.

Overnight, thousands of Gaza residents poured on to the streets to celebrate, waving flags and setting off fireworks.

The UN Security Council has called on Israel and Hamas to uphold the agreement, brokered by Egypt.

In its first statement since the current flare-up began, the council also commended Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and others involved in the diplomatic effort.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has been meeting regional leaders during the conflict, welcomed the ceasefire and said it was urgent that humanitarian aid be delivered to Gaza.

"We are all aware that there are many details that must be solidified for a broad, durable ceasefire to take firm hold over the longer term," he said. "It is imperative that both sides stick to the ceasefire in order to allow these underlying issues to be addressed."

The truce was announced in Cairo on Wednesday by Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr.

Alongside him was U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had taken part in the negotiations, first in Jerusalem and later in Cairo.

Despite the ceasefire, Israeli schools within 40km of the Gaza Strip were being kept closed on Thursday as a precaution, the military said.

Israel says it targeted 1,500 "terror sites" during Operation Pillar of Defense.

It says its targets included 30 senior militants, 980 underground rocket launchers and 140 smuggling tunnels.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that, for the first time, militants in Gaza had fired long-range rockets, such as the Fajr-5, toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had agreed to a U.S. suggestion "to give a chance to Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire and so give an opportunity to stabilize the situation and calm it before there will be need to apply greater force".

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