Gaza City: Thousands of displaced Gazans started returning to their homes to check for damage on Friday, while Israelis returned to normal life, as a ceasefire appeared to take hold after 11 days of deadly fighting.
But in Jerusalem, Israeli police suppressed stone-throwing demonstrators in the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa Mosque compound town, and similar conflicts two weeks later triggered the most serious escalation in years. Israeli forces defeated an AFP photographer who was covering up the unrest there.
The Israeli police said there were clashes in several other areas of East Jerusalem occupied by Israel and at the border crossing between Jerusalem and the West Bank, adding that hundreds of police officers and border guards had been mobilized.
A UN official said that the Palestinians in Gaza had flowed out of the school in the shelter, while rescuers said they were using their meager resources to clear the rubble and rescue any survivors.
Nazmi Dahdouh, 70, said an Israeli strike had destroyed his home in Gaza City.
“We don t have another home. I ll live in a tent on top of the rubble of my home until it s rebuilt,” the father of five said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel s bombing campaign of Palestinian armed groups had killed “more than 200 terrorists” in Gaza, including 25 senior commanders — an “exceptional success”.
The enclave s Islamist rulers Hamas also claimed “victory”.
“We have dealt a painful and severe blow that will leave its deep marks” on Israel, said the movement s political chief Ismail Haniyeh, pledging to rebuild Gaza.
He also thanked Iran for “providing funds and weapons” to Hamas.
Before dawn, after the truce began, Palestinians in Gaza honked their horns and shot into the air, while joyful crowds also walked to the streets of the occupied West Bank.
In Israel, the crying air raid sirens became silent, and when people went to the open-air cafes in the coastal commercial center of Tel Aviv, the calm atmosphere shrouded people’s sight.
After the international community exerted pressure to stop the bloody conflict, Egypt led to a truce, which also included the Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful armed group in Gaza.