Israel & Hamas agree to ceasefire in Gaza starting May 21 after 11 days of fighting

Amid mounting international pressure.

Kayla Wong | May 21, 2021, 09:56 AM

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire across the Gaza Strip border after 11 days of attacks, Reuters and the BBC reported.

A Hamas official reportedly said the truce would start at 2am on Friday (May 21), which is 7am in Singapore time.

Israel has approved the ceasefire as well, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office.

The truce, brokered by Egypt, comes amid mounting international pressure to end the attacks, which have resulted in an increasing number of civilian casualties.

Media reports by the WSJ, the New York Times, and Israel's Channel 12, citing an Israeli official and U.S. officials who were involved in the truce talks, had previously pointed to a possibility of a ceasefire by Friday.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, at least 232 people, including more than 100 children and women, have been killed in the Strip so far, the BBC reported.

On the other hand, 12 people, including two children, have been killed in Israel.

The truce had also come after U.S. President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he wants a "significant de-escalation" in the Gaza conflict and a "path to ceasefire", Bloomberg reported.

In response, Netanyahu said he is "determined to continue in this operation until its objective is achieved" so as to "bring back the quiet and security" to Israeli citizens, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Background

The 11-day conflict had erupted on May 10 after weeks of tensions in occupied East Jerusalem over threats to evict 13 Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood, leading to protests against it.

Israeli police then launched a crackdown on protesters, storming the Al Aqsa mosque with tear gas and stun grenades during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Hamas proceeded to issue an ultimatum to Israel to remove its forces from the Al Aqsa compound and Sheikh Jarrah, and launched rockets at Jerusalem.

The United Nations Commission for Human Rights has called the forceful evictions of Palestinians in the territory Israel occupies to make way for Israeli-Jewish settlers a potential war crime.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, however, has called it a "real estate dispute between private parties".

Top image adapted via Getty Images