A senior Hamas official has described the Gaza conflict as a “great victory” for Palestinians.
In a televised speech Ismail Haniya, the Prime Minister appointed by Hamas in Gaza, said: “God has granted us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people.
“We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals.”
His comments came as Israel began withdrawing troops from the Gaza strip.
Hamas has joined the ceasefire in Gaza – but said it will resume hostilities unless Israel withdraws all its troops from the area within a week.
The truce ends three weeks of bloodshed which has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people – half of them civilians.
It has been welcomed by US President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office on Tuesday.
A spokesman said: “President-elect Obama is committed to working to help achieve lasting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
“(He) will have more to say on these issues after January 20th.”
Hamas militants have carried out several rocket attacks on Israel since the ceasefire came into effect.
Israeli forces responded to the first with an airstrike on the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun in which a woman and child were reportedly wounded.
Israel’s war cabinet – led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – voted unanimously to back the ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt.
But he said Israeli troops would remain in Gaza and hit back if the militants launched further attacks.
He described the truce as “fragile” and said it would be reviewed on a “minute to minute” and “hour to hour” basis.
Hamas has said there cannot be a lasting peace until Israel pulls its troops out of Gaza and lifts a trade blockade.
Following talks in Jerusalem between the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and European leaders, Gordon Brown urged the Israelis to pull all their troops out of Gaza as soon as possible and open up border crossings.
Mr Brown said: “I believe that that would constitute the next stage following the ceasefire that will make possible the resumption of talks that are necessary for a permanent peace.”
More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed and 5,000 wounded since Israel began its offensive on December 27.
Source : Yahoo News