UN tours Gaza destruction, Israel and Palestinians claim victory during cease-fire

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Top officials in the Israeli-Palestinian region toured the destruction in Gaza Saturday and urged both sides to continue with the cease-fire.

The 11-day long conflict that erupted last week left more than 250 dead, including dozens of children largely in the Palestinian territories.

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Head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said staff living in the area claimed the most recent conflict was "worse in intensity and terror than 2014" – the last time the region saw large-scale violence.

"Last night was calm, and we hope obviously that it is going to hold and everybody just needs to stand down and not to engage in any provocative moves," UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories Lynn Hastings told Reuters.

After touring sites hit hard by Israeli rockets, Hastings said she saw more than just residential destruction, but the devastating effects of war.

Hastings met with a father who lost his wife and four out of his five children in the recent fighting.

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"All my ideas and dreams have ended. I have no more hopes in life," Riyad Eshkuntana reportedly told Hastings. "Under the rubble, my children were screaming, and I heard them. Their voices stopped one after another."

Both Israel and Hamas fighters have claimed victory over the recent conflict, but UN officials remain concerned that the cease-fire will only hold temporarily.

"I’m convinced after being here two and a half years that we will be back in war unless underlying causes are not addressed," Schmale said Friday according to a UN report. "And from a Gaza perspective, that means giving people and especially young people a dignified perspective of a dignified life."

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Nations like Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan played a crucial role in bringing both Israel and Hamas to agree to a cease-fire earlier this week.

President Biden said the U.S. would also be sending aid to the Palestinian territories "in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal."

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