War ends in ‘victory’

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the seven-week conflict in Gaza ended in “victory”.

The Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement was “hit hard and got none of its demands,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Hamas has also claimed the truce represents a victory for Gaza and held a large rally to celebrate it.

On Tuesday a ceasefire came into effect after 50 days of fierce fighting in which about 2200 people died, most of them Palestinians.

In a televised news conference, Mr Netanyahu said Hamas had been “hit hard” and threatened an even tougher response should there be so much as a “sprinkle” of rocket fire from Gaza.

He added that Israel “didn’t agree to accept any of Hamas’ demands”.

Yesterday, the UN’s World Food Programme said one of its convoys had entered Gaza for the first time since 2007, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.

Fishing boats also ventured out to sea as restrictions were eased.

Thousands of Palestinians began to return to their homes as the truce held for the whole of yesterday.

Engineers, meanwhile, struggled to repair infrastructure damaged by Israeli air strikes and shellfire.

In Israel, sirens warning of incoming rocket fire were silent and the military said there had been no violations of the ceasefire since it took effect.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the end of hostilities, but warned that a brighter future for civilians who have been affected depends on a sustainable truce.

“After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible,” he said.

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