Palestinians survey their destroyed houses in Deir Al-Balah Palestinians survey their destroyed houses in Deir Al-Balah 

Israel - Gaza truce appears to be holding

Israel will reopen crossings between the country and the Gaza Strip after a truce was agreed following five days of fighting.

By Nathan Morley

Egypt's efforts to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has seen five days of violence come to a sudden end, despite reports of minor breaches.

Now though, with the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in force, the Israeli Defence Ministry said the Kerem Shalom crossing would open for lorries along with the Erez crossing, the only pedestrian passage between Gaza and Israel.

At the same time, Israel announced that all security restrictions had been lifted.

The United States has welcomed the ceasefire and praised Cairo for brokering it.

On Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his support for the ceasefire and his hopes that it would hold.

“May weapons be silenced, because arms can never obtain security and stability. Rather, they only succeed in destroying any hope for peace," he told people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Regina Coeli prayer.

Deadly flare-up of violence

It has been a brutal week in the region. In the heaviest fighting in months, the Israeli military reported that 1,469 rockets were launched toward Israel from Gaza throughout the five days, killing two people.

In response, Israel launched hundreds of air-strikes, killing at least 33 Palestinians and injuring more than 150 others, according to Palestinian health authorities.

At least 13 civilians were reported killed in the Gaza Strip, including women and children as young as 4-years-old.

Authorities in Jerusalem have said the ceasefire agreement means "quiet will be met with quiet," but Israel said that if it is attacked or threatened, it will defend itself.

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14 May 2023, 14:15