"I was scared to so much as open my front door or stand on the balcony, fearing the kids would be struck by Israeli shrapnel," Obeid, 35, told Anadolu Agency. "I was scared to so much as open my front door or stand on the balcony, fearing the kids would be struck by Israeli shrapnel," Obeid, 35, told Anadolu Agency. Normal activity had returned to the beleaguered Gaza Strip by Wednesday, the first full day of an indefinite truce that ended a devastating Israeli military offensive that claimed more than 2000 Palestinian lives since it began on July 7. As soon as the sun rose on Wednesday morning, the streets of the coastal enclave came alive with traffic, while shops reopened to receive customers – many of whom emerged from their homes, or shelters, for the first time since the onslaught began. Noha Okal, 42, rushed out to buy school supplies for her children for the upcoming academic year. "I was supposed to buy these supplies several weeks ago, but the war disrupted our lives," Okal said.
The new school year has been postponed in the strip since Sunday, as most schools were turned into bomb shelters for families fleeing relentless Israeli bombardments from air, land and sea.
Banks have reopened and electricity authority workers began repairing the power grids damaged over the course of Israel's onslaught.
Displaced Palestinian families from areas close to the border with Israel began returning home, while some Palestinians whose homes were completely destroyed returned to sift through the rubble.
An Egypt-brokered cease-fire went into effect as of 16:00 GMT Tuesday, ending 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which saw 2,143 Palestinians killed – the vast majority of them civilians – and over 10,000 injured.
The cease-fire deal calls for opening all border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel – effectively signaling the end of the latter's seven-year blockade on the coastal territory.
It also calls for reopening Gaza's borders and expanding the zone in which Palestinian fishermen are allowed to ply their trade to six miles off the Gaza coast.
The agreement further calls for negotiations on other core Palestinian demands – including the release of prisoners and the establishment of a Gaza seaport – to resume after one month.
Over the course of Israel's offensive, launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from Gaza, at least 68 Israelis – 64 soldiers and four civilians – were killed, according to Israeli figures.
Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" was the deadliest offensive against the Gaza Strip since Israeli forces withdrew from the enclave in 2005.
The number of Palestinian fatalities from the just-concluded offensive surpassed the combined death toll from two previous operations against Gaza, including Israel's 21-day "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008/09 in which at least 1500 Palestinians were killed.