Tel Aviv [Israel], May 21 (ANI): Soon after Israel and Palestine agreed upon a ceasefire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country achieved all objectives in Gaza, while Hamas also claimed victory for Palestinians.
The brutal fighting between the two countries killed at least 243 Palestinians, including 66 children. On the other hand, 12 people were killed in Israeli, including two children and an Indian national, Al Jazeera reports.
Israeli security cabinet on Thursday unanimously adopted Egypt's initiative for a bilateral unconditional ceasefire, which took effect at 23:00 GMT on Thursday.
In a public statement, Netanyahu thanked the people of Israel for their 'resilience' during the fighting, saying that Gaza operation's objectives were 'extraordinarily' achieved, reported The Times of Israel.
Noting the criticism of the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, he said: "We acted with determination, with wisdom, and with supreme responsibility... I regard it as my responsibility to protect the mothers, the sons, our soldiers and prevent unnecessary loss of life... Therefore, we caused maximum casualties to Hamas while minimizing Israeli casualties."
Netanyahu stressed that Israel fulfilled its objective to deal Hamas a blow that "it could not imagine" by destroying a 'terror tunnel network' in Gaza.
"None of these were innocent buildings, Hamas offices, Hamas command centers, Hamas weapons stores. We hit rocket factories, weapons labs, weapons stores. And we did this with minimal harm to non-involved civilians," he said on destroying a building which housed numerous agencies.
He thanks US President Joe Biden and says their six recent conversations were all friendly and warm, arguing that Israel had received remarkable international support from dozens of countries and led successful diplomatic efforts with many global leaders.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Hamas claimed victory as thousands of people took to the streets of Gaza early Friday to celebrate a ceasefire with Israel after over a week of brutal conflict, reported The Times of Israel.
After the ceasefire, people came out of their homes, shouting slogans and whistling from balconies. Many fired in the air, celebrating the end of the fighting.
"This is the euphoria of victory," said Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas figure, in front of a crowd of thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in the streets to celebrate.
Ali Barakeh, an official with Islamic Jihad, said Israel's declaration of a truce was a defeat for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "a victory to the Palestinian people."
Leaders from around the world on Thursday welcomed the news of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine and called on all parties to observe it.
"I welcome the ceasefire between Gaza and Israel after 11 days of deadly hostilities," Guterres said on Thursday. "I call on all sides to observe the ceasefire."
European Council President Charles Michel has also welcomed the ceasefire reached by Israel and the Gaza Strip-based Hamas Islamist group. "Welcome announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ending the 11-day conflict. Opportunity for peace and security for citizens must be seized," Michel tweeted.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he spoke with leaders from both Israel and Palestine and welcomed his confirmation that the parties had agreed to a ceasefire.
The United States will provide rapid humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance to the Palestinians in Gaza after the conflict between Hamas and Israel, US President Joe Biden announced.
Last week, this new episode of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out after the civil unrest in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court's decision to evict several Palestinian families from the area, prompting hostilities on the borders of both countries, with Hamas having launched approximately 3,700 rockets against Israel, which retaliated with airstrikes, Sputnik reported. (ANI)