GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Gazans took to the streets on Wednesday to celebrate the start of a truce deal with Israel, firing into the air, honking car horns and chanting victory slogans.
The celebrations began shortly after the 1900 GMT deadline for the ceasefire to start, as agreed in a deal between Israel and Hamas that was announced in Egypt on the eighth day of violence in and around Gaza.
Heavy celebratory gunfire could be heard throughout the Gaza Strip, and residents also released fireworks into the night sky, where Israeli drones could still be buzzing heard overhead.
"The resistance has triumphed," some shouted, alongside chants of "Allahu akbar (God is greatest)."
In the minutes leading up the beginning of the ceasefire, heavy outgoing and incoming fire could be heard, but it appeared to have stopped after the deadline took effect.
The truce accord, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, calls on Israel to "stop all hostilities... in the land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals".
It also urges the Palestinian factions to end "rocket attacks and all attacks along the border."
Mosques throughout Gaza broadcast messages welcoming the ceasefire, and praising the "resistance".
"Celebrations until morning!" one Gaza City mosque broadcast over its loudspeaker, as hundreds of people gathered, many waving Hamas flags.
There were similar scenes of joy outside Gaza City's Shifa hospital, where some also waved the Egyptian flag as they celebrated.
Members of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, participated in some of the celebrations, and were given a hero's welcome.
One fighter, who gave his name Abu Abdullah, grinned as he fired into the air.
"A little while ago we were firing our weapons and rockets at the occupation and the occupied cities from underground, and now are firing in happiness," he said.
"Israel is an occupying country and will leave our land," he added, saying he was confident that the truce would hold.
"Israel cannot violate the truce because any violation will be answered immediately," he said.