Truce between Israel and Hamas begins

Truce between Israel and Hamas begins

A ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs Gaza, has come into effect.

Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza after returning from the border

Most Palestinian militant groups have agreed to the ceasefire

It took a lot of negotiations and hard bargaining behind closed doors to reach this stage.

Palestinian militants have agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel and the Israeli Defence Forces have agreed to stop launching punitive raids into Gaza.

If the truce holds it would mean that, for the first time in over a year, the Gaza Strip might look forward to a period of relative calm.

However, there is a lot of scepticism on both sides over how long it will last.

An Israeli soldier loads a tank onto a transporter near the border

Israeli tanks have been drawn back from the border

The Israeli Prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has made it plain that any breach by the Palestinians will be immediately punished.

Listen Listen to Ehud Olmert (15 secs)

The Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, sounded a little more optimistic.

Listen Listen to Salam Fayyad (21 secs)

Mohammed Omar is a resident of Rafah in southern Gaza. What progress does he want to see as a result of the ceasefire?

A father and his sons, one of whom needs urgent medical treatment

Many hope the truce will allow movement across the border

Listen Listen to Mohammed Omar (2 mins 7 secs)

Anav Silverman is a resident of the Israeli town of Sderot which lies very close to the border with Gaza. It is routinely hit by missiles fired from the Gaza strip.

Is she optimistic?

Listen Listen to Anav Silverman (3 mins 15 secs)

In the early hours of the ceasefire, the World Today asked the BBC's correspondent in Gaza, Aleem Maqbool, whether the situation was calm.

Listen Listen to Aleem Maqbool (3 mins 2 secs)

First broadcast 19 June 2008