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Life in Gaza begins to return to normal as cease-fire holds

1:59 AM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
Members of a Palestinian family gather their belongings as displaced Gazans returned to their homes after an eight-day conflict on November 22, 2012. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Shops reopened and life began to return to normal in Gaza after an Egypt-brokered truce ending Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets held overnight and into Thursday.

"We are very happy," said Umm Alaa, 55. "We wanted to stop the massacres that happened."

There were long lines at supermarkets and bakeries as locals stocked up on supplies that were depleted over the eight-day bombardment. It was the worst break out over hostilities between Hamas and Israel in four years.

Israel launched the offensive on Nov. 14 to halt renewed rocket fire from Gaza. The offensive included about 1,500 airstrikes on Gaza while militant groups in the strip set off hundreds of rockets targeted at southern Israel as well as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

In Gaza, 161 people died. In Israel, five died.

Regardless, both sides claimed victory. Wednesday night in Gaza, people streamed out into the streets to celebrate, shooting guns in the air and singing.

"The masses taking to the streets last night to celebrate sent a message that Gaza can't be defeated," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Even as people worry that that the truce won't last, they were hopeful that they could start rebuilding their lives.
Om Rafat Salhi, who lives in the Nusirat camp in Gaza City, was squeezing some tomatoes with bread to serve it to her five children.

"This is the only thing I can provide my sons for the time being," she said "The shop that my husband works at has been closed for more than a week and he didn't earn anything in this time."

"I hope this is over."

Associated Press

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