Gazans return to find debris of their homes after 11-day bombardmenttext_fields
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNWRA, has revealed that most of the 66,000 Palestinians who had sought refuge in its schools during the fighting were heading home, as it began assessing the huge scale of the damage, as per a report by The Guardian.
11 days long airstrikes by Israel in its war with Hamas have left entire buildings in rubble and streets destroyed even as more bodies were recovered on Friday, taking the death toll to 243, including scores of Hamas fighters and 66 children, with more than 1,900 wounded.
UN Secretary, António Guterres also said after Thursday's announcement of an end to 11 days of clashes: "Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict."
But even as world leaders hailed a ceasefire that took hold in the early hours of Friday morning and vowed to help rebuild, many of the tensions that led to the fourth war in Gaza in almost 13 years remained starkly in evidence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained belligerent even as ally US said it would step up diplomatic efforts in the region.
"If Hamas thinks that we will tolerate a trickle of rockets, it is mistaken," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the Guardian. "We will respond with a different kind of force to any firing on Gaza border commutes. What was is not what will be."
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, planned to visit the region in the coming days "to discuss recovery efforts and working together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians", his department said.
Meanwhile, US President Biden has come under heavy criticism from the opposition and even members of his party for what was seen as a refusal to properly criticise Israeli aggression as well as the decision not to join the UN security council in its call for a ceasefire.
Tensions remain high on both sides as police once again clashed with stone-pelting protestors at Al Aqsa mosque on Friday, as Hamas's political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said the fight against Israel would continue until al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem was "liberated."