A Palestinian girl receives medical treatment of her wounds caused by an Israeli airstrike in the town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on Thursday. AP
An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas took hold on Friday after the worst violence in years, with US President Joe Biden pledging to salvage the devastated Gaza Strip and the United Nations urging renewed Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Palestinians who had spent 11 days huddled in fear of Israeli shelling poured into Gaza's streets, embracing one another in celebration in front of bombed out buildings and along streets covered in wreckage.
Mosque loud-speakers feted "the victory of the resistance achieved over the Occupation (Israel)." Cars driving around East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah at dawn flew Palestinian flags and honked horns, echoing the scenes in Gaza.
In the countdown to the 2 a.m. (2300 GMT Thursday) cease-fire, Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike.
Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other. Egypt said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire.
US Vice President Harris, in call with Jordan's King Abdullah, reiterated US commitment to two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict and importance of upholding status quo at the Haram Al-Sharif /Temple mount.
Since fighting broke out on May 10, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says have targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, including a vast tunnel network. Hamas and other militant groups embedded in residential areas have fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities, with hundreds falling short and most of the rest intercepted.
Since fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza say 256 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,700 wounded in air and artillery bombardments.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday issued an urgent appeal for $7 million needed over six months in response to a health crisis in Gaza and the West Bank amid a conflict with Israel.
The funds were required to "enable a comprehensive emergency response in the next six months," the WHO said in a statement, following the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians since May 10.
The WHO officials also called for a humanitarian pause in Israel's bombardment of Gaza to allow access for aid as the health system in the Palestinian enclave faces critical shortages.
A Palestinian boy injured in an Israeli airstrike lies in hospital in Khan Yunis. AFP
"The closure of entry and exit points for patients and humanitarian health teams and the severe restrictions on the entry of medical supplies is exacerbating this public health crisis," WHO regional director Ahmed Al Mandhari said at a media briefing.
"The severity of injuries is straining an already overwhelmed health system that is facing critical shortages of essential medicines and supplies while also battling the COVID-19 pandemic."
The relatives of Palestinian Mahmoud Shtawi, 19, cry during his funeral in Gaza City. AFP
A United Nations convoy to bring humanitarian aid, including 10,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines, into Gaza and to bring wounded people out was ready to enter as soon as it could get access, WHO head for the West Bank and Gaza Rik Peeperkorn said.
"Until there is ceasefire agreed, all parties to the conflict must agree to a humanitarian pause to ensure access into and out of Gaza," Peeperkorn said.
A Palestinian at his brother's house feeding his son — who was pulled alive from under the rubble while his mother and four brothers perished in an Israeli airstrike on May 15. AFP
Earlier, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees urgently appealed for $38 million for emergency needs in Gaza as a result of conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The UN Relief and Works Agency said that it is already responding to the humanitarian needs of refugees and non-refugees, including tens of thousands of people who have sought safety in the agency’s schools and emergency shelters.
The agency says the $38 million is needed for an initial 30-day period to respond to a variety of immediate needs in Gaza including food, health care, psychological services, and water and sanitation. It also includes emergency needs in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, for health care, shelter, education, security and protection.
But in Jerusalem, Israeli police cracked down on stone-throwing protesters at the highly sensitive Al Aqsa mosque compound, two weeks after similar clashes sparked the conflict's worst escalation in years.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan criticised U.S. President Joe Biden's approval of weapons sales to Israel.
The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting amid a diplomatic push to end the fighting, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Israel would continue its military onslaught on the coastal enclave “as long as necessary.”
The idea of a two-state solution — with a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel and Jerusalem as their shared capital — has been the cornerstone of decades of international diplomacy aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed that funeral prayers in absentia be performed for the victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, following Juma's prayers (Friday prayers) in all mosques across the country.
Rescue workers continued to pull living people from the damaged homes but hope was starting to fade amid freezing temperatures more than three full days since the quake hit.
The earthquake will start in Afghanistan and pass through Pakistan and India before ending in the Indian Ocean, he said, adding these areas are the most prone to large earthquakes.