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Live Reporting

Edited by Gary Kitchener

All times stated are UK

  1. What happened in Israel and Gaza today?

    Debris flies and smoke rises following an Israeli air strike
    Image caption: The Israel-Gaza conflict has left destruction and death in its wake

    We're now pausing our live coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict and its aftermath.

    A fragile peace held up on the first day of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

    If you're just joining us, here's an overview of the main developments today.

    • A ceasefire brokered by Egypt and other countries came into effect at 02:00 local time on Friday (23:00 GMT on Thursday) in Israel and Gaza
    • The truce was hailed as a victory by Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza. Both sides claimed military and political successes
    • In a sign the truce was holding up, the US said it had been given a "strong assurance" of commitment to the ceasefire
    • A top Hamas leader said the conflict had destroyed the concept of harmonious relations between Gaza and Israel
    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country "did bold and new things" in the conflict, and hailed the air campaign as an "exceptional success"
    • But the ceasefire was put under strain by skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli police outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem. Medics said at least 20 Palestinians were wounded
    • Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police were also seen in parts of the occupied West Bank
    • Meanwhile, both Palestinian and Israeli civilians began trying to live their lives without the threat of attacks from the air
    • On Friday, Gaza's health ministry said at least 248 people, including 66 children, were killed in the conflict. Israel's military said at least 12 people, including one of its soldiers, were killed

    Our live page staff today were Matthew Davis, Gary Kitchener, Joshua Cheetham, Joshua Nevett and Jaroslav Lukov

  2. Aid enters Gaza, restrictions lifted in Israel

    Sebastian Usher

    BBC Arab Affairs Editor

    Women exchange flowers in Ashkelon, Israel
    Image caption: Women exchange flowers in Ashkelon, Israel

    Trucks full of medicine, food and fuel have entered through a crossing into Gaza that has been temporarily opened by Israel.

    The UN agency for Palestinian refugees says the priority is to identify and help tens of thousands of people displaced after their homes were destroyed or they fled Israeli bombardment.

    In Israel, life is getting back to normal as emergency restrictions on movement have been lifted.

    All educational institutions are to reopen on Sunday, while airlines are resuming flights to and from Tel Aviv in the coming days.

    But clashes in Jerusalem at Al-Aqsa compound are a reminder of how high tensions remain and how little if anything has been resolved.

    Many Israelis in towns hardest hit by rockets from Gaza believe the fighting ended too soon - and that Hamas should have been dealt a heavier blow.

  3. Defiant Gazans head outside

    Tom Bateman

    BBC Middle East correspondent, Gaza City

    A boy wearing a keffiyeh gestures as he drives past a wrecked building in Gaza City (21 May 2021)

    Gaza’s streets are bursting back into life with the truce only hours old.

    It’s the first time in nearly a fortnight that people have been able to go outside in relative safety.

    Entire families step over rubble and children tip-toe through smashed glass.

    They look up at wrecked buildings but seem to take it in their stride. Perhaps seeing the aftermath is easy compared with the terrifying experience of living through the air strikes themselves.

    On one street in the heart of downtown Gaza City is the remnants of al-Sharouq building. Its name means sunrise. It lies in charred ruins. The block was the third high-rise bombed by Israel, which said militants used it.

    A car drives past and a child in a keffiyeh - a Palestinian headscarf - stands out of the sunroof with his fingers in a victory sign.

    Hamas is hailing its “defence of Jerusalem”. Israel says its air strikes have set the group back strategically.

    People here are welcoming calm, but know it probably just means a countdown to the next inevitable conflict.

  4. US says it has 'strong assurances' on truce

    The US has "strong assurance" from "relevant parties" that they are committed to the ceasefire, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said.

    And a statement from Egypt, reported by Reuters, says Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, that Israel was keen to maintain calm.

  5. 'We just want to live in peace'

    Israelis and Palestinians have been giving their reaction to the ceasefire that brought 11 days of fighting to an end.

    There were celebrations in Gaza, where one Palestinian resident described Friday as a "day of victory" and "freedom".

    But the reaction was more subdued in Israel.

    "I want to be optimistic about the ceasefire," one barista said. "I really hope that it will remain, because the only thing that we want here is just to live our lives without any alarms or fire.

    "Just live in peace."

    Watch the video below for more reaction from Israelis and Palestinians.

    Video content

    Video caption: Palestinians and Israelis react to ceasefire
  6. 'I'm scared of the rockets falling'

    An Israeli girl carries her sleeping items as she walks out of a public bomb shelter
    Image caption: Many Israelis have been taking refuge in bomb shelters

    The effects on everyday lives as recorded on Friday by Reuters journalists. Following the Gaza reports (in the post below), here is what some of the citizens of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon lived through.

    The truce was greeted with a mixture of relief and trepidation in the city, where rocket barrages from Gaza were a daily occurrence.

    But, for the first time in 11 days, no sirens were heard on Friday and the coast was clear for Jewish families to emerge from bomb shelters.

    "I am happy that it's over but on the other side I'm certain there will be another escalation and we will be scared once again and have to go down to the shelter," said Israeli mother Tammy Zamir.

    Israelis get ready to leave a public bomb shelter and go back home
    Image caption: Sirens were heard daily in the southern city of Ashkelon

    The conflict saw Israel targeted with some of the heaviest rocket barrages it has ever faced.

    While most were intercepted by Israel's military, it was a traumatic time for Zamir's son, Osher.

    "I’m scared of the rocket sirens and the rockets falling," Osher said.

  7. 'We are back to our fully destroyed homes'

    Palestinian girls stand in the rubble of their destroyed house
    Image caption: Palestinians in Gaza survey their destroyed homes

    With the ceasefire called, Reuters reporters have taken a look at the suffering on both sides of the conflict. This is from Gaza. The next post will show some of the effects in Israel.

    Many in the Gaza Strip were confronted with shocking scenes of devastation.

    Samira Abdallah Nasser's two-storey house was hit by a blast during the fighting, reducing it to ruins.

    "We are back to our homes and we don't have a place to sit, we don't have water, we don't have electricity, we don't have beds, we don't have anything.

    "We are back to our fully destroyed homes."

    A Palestinian sits in the rubble of his destroyed house
    Image caption: Israel's military said Hamas militants were using residential buildings

    While the ceasefire has brought the bombardments to an end, rebuilding the lives of residents in Gaza has only just began.

    "This truce is for everyone but us, the truce is for people who are comfortable, who are sitting in their homes, who do not have martyrs, who do not have destruction," resident Azhar Nasser said.

  8. 'Difficult for Israel to call it a political success'

    As the uneasy ceasefire holds, both Israel and Hamas have claimed military successes in the conflict.

    But what about the political implications for Benjamin Netanyahu?

    In an interview with the BBC, Israel's former deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, was asked whether the PM would be able to label the military operation in Gaza a political success.

    "From a political point of view, it will be very difficult to call it a success," Ayalon said.

    You can watch more of our interview with the Israeli minister below.

    Video content

    Video caption: ‘Netanyahu rivals will use ceasefire against him’
  9. New clashes, old causes

    Yolande Knell

    BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem

    Video content

    Video caption: Footage of the clashes in East Jerusalem

    The truce hasn’t meant calm in Jerusalem - after Friday prayers there were renewed confrontations between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli security forces outside al-Aqsa Mosque where the tensions that fuelled the latest fighting began.

    The United Nations, the UK and others are pushing for renewed dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. They point out that so long as the root causes of their conflict remain unsolved there is always the chance of another dangerous escalation.

  10. Gaza hospitals risk being overwhelmed - UN

    A Palestinian boy injured in Israeli air strikes is treated in hospital in Gaza City
    Image caption: A Palestinian boy injured in Israeli air strikes is treated in hospital in Gaza City

    UN agencies are appealing for urgent medical supplies and access to the Gaza Strip, warning that health facilities in the Hamas-run territory could be overwhelmed by treating thousands of injured Palestinians.

    Aid officials are also warning that it would take Gaza years to recover after the 11 days of fighting.

    At a UN briefing, World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris called for immediate access for health supplies and personnel into Gaza and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.

    "The real challenges are the closures. We need entry of medical supplies," Reuters quoted her as saying.

    Harris said 30 health facilities in Gaza had been hit, and that road damage was obstructing ambulance access.

    The WHO on Thursday issued an urgent appeal for $7m (£4.9m) for Gaza.

  11. Children and the trauma of conflict

    The Gaza Strip and Israel saw children die during the 11 days of fighting. Many other youngsters were scarred by what they saw.

    The BBC has spoken to a Palestinian girl and an Israeli boy about their experiences.

    "We heard lots of explosions, we heard lots of kids screaming for help, and we heard lots of mothers crying for their children," says 10-year-old Nadeen in Gaza City, adding that she is now scared when it's dark.

    Meanwhile, Edan, who lives in Dekel, southern Israel, says any time he heard sirens warning about incoming rockets from Gaza "I run for my life, it's very scary".

    "I try not to think about this," the 11-year-old says.

    Video content

    Video caption: Israel-Gaza: How children on both sides experienced the conflict
  12. Israeli defence minister - all objectives achieved

    Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has said the Israeli air campaign in Gaza followed plans that had been “prepared for years and months" and that its intensity “surprised” Hamas militants. All operational objectives were achieved, he says.

    "The military action is over. Now is the time for political action," he said, adding that there needed to be long-term quiet along the Israel-Gaza border.

    The head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, said the Gaza operation “was not like the others”, and that it could be “reality-changing”.

    “The rules of the game have changed,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying. “Hamas before this operation is not like Hamas the day after.”

  13. We need to rebuild lives in Gaza, says UN

    UNRWA Gaza director Mattias Schmale
    Image caption: UNRWA Gaza director Mattias Schmale inspects damage at its headquarters

    The UN agency for Palestinian refugees - known as UNRWA - has announced a list of priorities as it switches from an emergency response to recovery in Gaza.

    According to AFP news agency, UNRWA's chief in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, told reporters about is three priorities in the wake of the conflict: finding and supporting those who are homeless; assessing the damage; and helping to rebuild the lives of a "terrified, traumatised population".

    Mr Schmale also expressed concern about the Covid pandemic in Gaza. The second wave there had begun to calm before the fighting erupted.

    "Many of us are very worried that... we may have in fact seen the beginning of the third wave because of course precautionary measures and so on were not adhered to," he said.

    But while he said he felt an "enormous sense of relief" at the ceasefire, he added that the truce felt "fragile".

    "I am convinced after being here three and a half years that we will be back in a war if the underlying causes are not addressed," he said.

  14. Airlines resuming flights to Tel Aviv

    Lufthansa aircraft. File photo

    Major international airlines say they are now preparing to resume flights to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.

    A spokesman for America's Delta Airlines is quoted as saying the company plans to resume service from New York-JFK to Tel Aviv tonight (Friday)".

    Germany's Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines say they will restart flying to Israel's main airport on Sunday.

    Britain's Virgin Atlantic says it is hoping to restart operating regular services on Monday.

    Many airlines - including British Airways - last week suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv's airport citing the risk of rocket fire from Gaza.

    Other companies decided to divert their services to Ramon Airport near Eilat, southern Israel.

  15. 'Underlying issues as unresolved as ever'

    Sebastian Usher

    BBC Arab Affairs Editor

    Both Israel and Hamas have declared victory in their latest showdown. But the continuing unrest at Al-Aqsa - one of the epicentres of the recent surge in tension between Israel and the Palestinians - suggests that the underlying issues remain as unresolved as ever.

    The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the military operation against Hamas has been game changing, while the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has asserted that the concept of normalisation with Israel has been destroyed.

    Both are clearly keen to claim that the latest round of death and destruction has shifted the status quo in their favour. Those putting their lives back together in Gaza and Israel may beg to differ.

  16. Conflict was quantum leap - top Hamas leader

    Palestinian group Hamas top leader, Ismail Haniya

    We can now bring you some reaction to the ceasefire from top Hamas political leader Ismail Haniya.

    Haniya said the outcome of the recent hostilities with Israel represented "a quantum leap in the history of the conflict with the enemy".

    "This battle defeated the illusions of negotiations," Haniya said, describing resistance as the "best strategic choice for liberation".

    "We, as a movement and movement's leadership, with all our people and the good people of this nation and the world, will rebuild Gaza," he added.

    Since the truce was announced, both Hamas and Israel have framed the conflict as a victory, touting what they say are military and political successes.

  17. Global leaders react to ceasefire

    World leaders have been lining up to welcome news that Israel and the Palestinian militants Hamas have called a truce. Here are some of the key comments:

    • US President Joe Biden highlighted Egypt's role in brokering the truce, and said there was a "genuine opportunity to make progress" on peace
    • China welcomed the ceasefire and promised $2 million in emergency aid and UN relief efforts for Palestinians. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said countries worldwide "should promote the resumption of peace talks... and achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue on the basis of the two-state solution"
    • EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was "appalled" by the loss of life in the last 11 days, and pledged the EU's full support for Israel and the Palestinians in finding a political solution
    • And UK foreign minister Dominic Raab tweeted that "All sides must work to make the ceasefire durable and end the unacceptable cycle of violence and loss of civilian life."
  18. Israel re-opens key Gaza crossing

    More now on some news we brought you earlier today: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has confirmed that the Kerem Shalom crossing to Gaza has been re-opened.

    Local media reports had previously conflicted about whether the major corridor into Gaza was letting traffic through. But the ICRC said it had used the crossing - located on the borders of Israel, Gaza and Egypt - to ferry medical supplies and equipment to Palestinians in the territory.

    View more on twitter

    Earlier in the week, Israel re-opened the crossing so Gaza could receive humanitarian assistance, only to close it again soon afterwards. Israel said the closure was spurred by Palestinian militants firing mortars at the area.

  19. In pictures: Confrontations in West Bank

    Israeli police and Palestinian protesters have clashed in locations across the occupied West Bank on Friday in the aftermath of the ceasefire.

    There were confrontations in towns and cities including Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem. We've already brought you extensive coverage of the clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

    Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank
    Image caption: A man kicks a burning tyre towards Israeli troops in Hebron
    Israeli forces fire tear gas at protesters in Bethlehem
    Image caption: Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Bethlehem
    Palestinians throw stones at Israeli forces in Nablus
    Image caption: Protesters threw stones at Israeli forces in Nablus
    Israeli forces fire rubber bullets in Nablus
    Image caption: Israeli soldiers outside a checkpoint near Nablus
  20. Israeli PM advisor: Peace can't happen with Hamas

    Mark Regev delivers a speech at the annual Holocaust Memorial Commemoration event, co-hosted with the Israeli Embassy, in central London on January 23, 2019

    Mark Regev, a senior advisor to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has told the BBC that Hamas has been diminished by the conflict, and that it's a positive step towards peace.

    "They started this round of violence for no reason whatsoever and they've paid the price," said Mr Regev, a former ambassador to the UK.

    He said he hoped that, in light of what he called Hamas' military defeat, more moderate Palestinian voices can move forward.

    "What can do you when Hamas is opposed to any political solution?" he added. "I hope that we can make peace with the Palestinians, but that's not going to happen with Hamas."