Kuala Lumpur Post

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Crowds celebrate in Rafah streets after Hamas approves truce plan

RAFAH — Crowds danced, cheered, and fired in the air in the streets of the southern Gaza city of Rafah Monday after Hamas said it approved a ceasefire proposal from mediators Egypt and Qatar.

People were crying tears of happiness, chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and shooting in the air in celebration of the news, an AFP journalist reported.

“I felt joy and kneeled before God in gratitude after the ceasefire announcement,” Nour al-Fara, 56, told AFP.

She said she was particularly relieved because her family was “in a state of anxiety since this morning, packing our belongings in preparation to leave”, after Israeli forces ordered inhabitants in parts of Rafah to evacuate ahead of a “limited operation”.

People gathered in the hundreds, waving Palestinian flags, one even holding a party fog machine in the air for the festive occasion while others, perched on the shoulders of friends clapped their hands above the crowd.

Some danced around a bonfire lit on the pavement, and others held up their hands in victory signs.

Men stood on top of buses and trucks, waving handkerchiefs or waving their arms in the air as they celebrated.

“We were very happy, we embraced each other, and cried”, Farah, 31, told AFP. Her joy was overshadowed by future living prospects in war-ravaged Gaza, and thinking about “how we will rebuild our lives after the destruction of our homes in Gaza.”

More cautious, Bakri Abdulhamid, 40, said that despite his initial joy, “we are also waiting for the occupation’s approval,” but is hopeful that Gazans will be able to “return to our homes tomorrow and end this ordeal.” — AFP