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People's Daily Online

Biden highlights Egypt's role in ceasefire between Israel, Hamas

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:27, May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, May 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, expressing "sincere gratitude" to Egypt for its role in brokering the deal.

Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, have accepted an Egyptian-brokered deal earlier in the day to cease fighting at 2 a.m. Friday local time (2300 GMT Thursday) to end the 11-day bloodshed.

"I extend my sincere gratitude to President al-Sisi and the senior Egyptian officials who played such a critical role in this diplomacy," Biden said at the White House soon after the two sides announced the ceasefire.

Egypt will send two security delegations to Israel and Palestine to ensure the implementation of the truce, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported Thursday.

Meanwhile, he reiterated U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks by Hamas.

Biden in recent days has faced growing pressure from his own party and the international community to push for an immediate ceasefire. His administration's proposed sale of 735 million U.S. dollars in weapons to Israel has sparked criticism from progressive lawmakers.

Israel has been launching massive raids on the Palestinian enclave with airstrikes, artillery shellings and drone attacks since May 10, in response to the rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza to retaliate against Israel's violation of the sacred Islamic holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The heaviest fighting between Israel and Gaza militants since 2014 has so far killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, and 12 Israelis.

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