Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh waves to Hamas militants as they celebrate with people what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City August 27, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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An open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war held Wednesday, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian militants, in which no clear victor has emerged.In Israel, sirens warning of incoming rocket fire from the Gaza Strip fell silent.Netanyahu told a news conference Israel had dealt Hamas its toughest blow ever. Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in the enclave since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending rocket salvoes.Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are seeking guarantees that weapons will not enter Gaza, a narrow, densely populated territory of 1.8 million people.In Gaza, several thousand Palestinians cheered and waved green Hamas banners as the movement's deputy leader, Ismail Haniyeh, making his first public appearance since the war, proclaimed victory over Israel in the latest fighting."They are celebrating in Gaza," Cabinet minister Uzi Landau, of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party in Netanyahu's coalition, told Israel Radio. He said that for Israel, the outcome of the war was "very gloomy" because it had not created sufficient deterrence to dissuade Hamas from attacking in the future.
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