The ceasefire announcement had set off frenzied street celebrations in the coastal strip, and raised hopes of a new era in relations between Israel and Hamas.

Relief: Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce with Israel in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. Pic/AFP

The two sides are now to negotiate a deal that would open the borders of the blockaded Palestinian territory. “Today is different, the morning coffee tastes different and I feel we are off to a new start,” said Ashraf Diaa, a 38-year-old engineer from Gaza City.

And after the ceasefire was announced, Hamas claimed victory. “The masses that took to the streets last night to celebrate sent a message to all the world that Gaza can’t be defeated,” said a spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.