Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the Gaza war with Israel amounted to a "great victory" for the Palestinians, in a televised speech.
"God has granted us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people," said Haniya yesterday, the prime minister appointed by the Islamist movement Hamas in the impoverished territory.
"We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals," he added, less than 24 hours after Israeli halted a massive offensive on Gaza that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.
The senior Hamas leader has been in hiding since the start of the offensive on December 27, but made two previous televised statements promising victory amid the deadliest Israeli offensive ever launched on the territory.
Haniya confirmed his movement's decision earlier yesterday to adhere to its own unilateral truce for one week to allow Israel to withdraw all its troops and to reopen Gaza's border crossings.
"The groups of the resistance have decided to halt their fire in Gaza so that the enemy army can completely withdraw," he said.
"The decision proves that the resistance was correct and responsible, and works according to the interests of our people."
Israeli troops began withdrawing from Gaza after the ceasefire took effect at 0530 IST yesterday but the Jewish state has said its military will return fire if attacked and has not set a date for their full withdrawal.