UN helps Gaza couples to get married amid ceasefire

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UN helps Gaza couples to get married amid ceasefire

UN helps Gaza couples to get married amid ceasefire
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Amid the destruction in Gaza, three couples have been married in joint ceremonies in the southern town of Rafah.

Organised by the United Nations, they took place at a school operated by the UN which has been used as a shelter for people displaced by the conflict with Israel.

The UN paid for the celebrations and gave each couple presents, including a mattress and some clothes.

The rare moment of joy and relief came amid a five-day ceasefire due to expire on Monday night.

Elsewhere in Gaza, protesters denounced Israel’s military offensive and demonstrated their support for Hamas and the Palestinian delegation at peace negotiations in Cairo.

Both sides say gaps remain in reaching a long-term deal.

“We want a deal that satisfies the Palestinian people. We confirm that Hamas is ready for all options. The ball is now in Israel’s court. Hamas’ position will depend on what the Israeli side decides,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Hamas wants Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza lifted, as well as the establishment of a seaport and airport, as part of any enduring halt to violence.

Israel, which launched its offensive after enduring a surge of Hamas rocket attacks, has called for the disarming of militant groups in the Palestinian territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says any deal on Gaza must meet Israel’s security needs, warning Hamas it faces “harsh strikes” if it resumes firing rockets.