Cease-fire holds, Hamas declares victory

2:34 PM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza appears to be holding, and Hamas leaders are declaring victory.

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (IHS'-may-el hah-NEE'-yuh) says "resistance fighters changed the rules of the game" in the eight-day exchange of fire with Israel and the threat of an Israeli invasion of Gaza "is gone" forever. Haniyeh also urged Gaza fighters to respect the truce "as long as Israel respects it."

The mood in Israel has been mixed. Some were grateful that quiet had been restored without a ground operation that could have cost the lives of soldiers. Others - particular those in southern Israel hit by rockets over the past 13 years - thought the operation was abandoned too quickly.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says while some Israelis "were expecting a harsher response," the offensive's aims of halting Gaza rocket fire and weakening Hamas were achieved. He added that Israel is prepared to act if the cease-fire is violated.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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