Israel PM defends Gaza truce before sceptical public

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Israel PM defends Gaza truce before sceptical public

Israel PM defends Gaza truce before sceptical public
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The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held firm on Thursday, although both sides have vowed to retaliate if they are attacked.

Israeli reservists, who had been called up in their thousands, began leaving the border where increasing numbers had been sent in anticipation of a possible land offensive into Gaza.

An Israeli soldier died from his wounds on Thursday, bringing to six the number of Israelis killed in the recent violence.

The government still has to convince many people who are sceptical over the truce.

Like the military, the prime minister claims its bombardment of Gaza was successful.

“We are prepared to act if the peace is violated,” said Benjamin Netanyahu. “The campaign objectives were achieved. I know some were expecting a harsher response. We are prepared for that, too.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli security service says it has arrested suspects after Wednesday’s Tel Aviv bus bombing.

In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met the family of the military chief whose assassination by Israeli forces marked the start of the week-long outbreak of violence.

As Gaza celebrated a public holiday to mark the truce, the armed wing of the territory’s Hamas rulers declared victory.

Gaza/Israel: one week of conflict in pictures