Amid global pressure, Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire

There was calm over the skyline in Gaza City early Friday morning, after Israel and Hamas agreed to cease fire across the border, a potentially tenuous halt to the fiercest fighting in decades following days of destruction and attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said his security cabinet had voted unanimously in favor of a "mutual and unconditional" Gaza truce proposed by Egypt Hamas said the ceasefire would be "mutual and simultaneous."

Abu Ubaida is the spokesman of the Hamas armed wing:

"With the help of God, we were able to humiliate the enemy, its fragile entity and its savage army. The whole world saw the shame of this regime, whose leaders are proud of striking buildings and houses. They are also proud of killing children and women."

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed the agreement from the White House and urged calm from both sides.

"The United States committed to working with the United Nations, and we remain committed to work with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts… I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end."

Amid growing global alarm at the bloodshed, pressure had been growing for days for a halt to the fighting. On Wednesday President Biden urged Netanyahu to seek de-escalation, while Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations sought mediation.

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.

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.

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 violence was triggered by Palestinian anger at what they saw as Israeli curbs on their rights in Jerusalem, including during police confrontations with protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque.

Hamas previously demanded that any halt to the Gaza fighting be accompanied by Israeli drawdowns in Jerusalem. An Israeli official told Reuters there was no such condition in the truce.

Video Transcript

- There was calm over the skyline in Gaza City early Friday morning after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire across the border, a potentially tenuous halt to the fiercest fighting in decades following days of destruction and attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said his security cabinet had voted unanimously in favor of a mutual and unconditional Gaza truce proposed by Egypt. Hamas said the ceasefire would be mutual and simultaneous.

Abu Ubaida is the spokesman of the Hamas armed wing.

ABU UBAIDA: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: With the help of God, we were able to humiliate the enemy, its fragile entity, and its savage army. The whole world saw the shame of this regime, whose leaders are proud of striking buildings and houses. They are also proud of killing children and women.

- US President Joe Biden welcomed the agreement from the White House and urged calm from both sides.

JOE BIDEN: The United States is committed to working with the United Nations, and we remain committed to working with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people of Gaza and the Gaza reconstruction efforts. I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy toward that end.

- Amid growing global alarm at the bloodshed, pressure had been mounting for days for a halt to the fighting. On Wednesday, President Biden urged Netanyahu to seek de-escalation while Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations sought mediation. 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.

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. 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 violence was triggered by Palestinian anger at what they saw as Israeli curbs on their rights in Jerusalem, including during police confrontations with protesters at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Hamas previously demanded that any halt to the Gaza fighting be accompanied by Israeli drawdowns in Jerusalem. An Israeli official told Reuters there was no such condition in the truce.