An elderly Palestinian woman reacts in front of her home, damaged by Israeli bombardment, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on May 20, 2021. AFP
An Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire deal has been reached between Israel and the Palestinian factions to end an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.
The "simultaneous and mutual ceasefire" will come into effect as of Friday 21 May at 2am (23:00 GMT) Palestinian time.
Egypt will send two security delegations to Tel Aviv and the Palestinian territories to follow up on the implementation of the ceasefire and to negotiate measures to ensure the stability of the situation permanently as per directives issued by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
The Egyptian efforts were praised and welcomed by various regional and Arab countries.
Over the past several days, Egypt sent a delegation to Ramallah city in the central West Bank and Tel Aviv more than once to mediate an immediate ceasefire.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed a ceasefire announced by Israel and Hamas as a "genuine opportunity" for peace after 11 days of bombing and rocket strikes.
"I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I'm committed to working toward it," Biden said at the White House, highlighting Egypt's role in brokering the truce.
He said he had spoken Thursday with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Biden had notable words of thanks for President El-Sisi.
"I extend my sincere gratitude to President El-Sisi and the senior Egyptian officials who have played such a critical role in this diplomacy," Biden said.
The Israeli bombing of Gaza has claimed over 250 Palestinian lives, including many women and children, while over 8,000 have been wounded.
The recent escalation was sparked on 10 May when Israel cracked down on Palestinian demonstrators protesting Israel’s plan to forcibly expel Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem.