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Israel, Hamas agree hostages release truce



Israel-Hamas War: US, UK impose new sanctions on militants

Israel’s government and Hamas agreed on Wednesday to a four-day cease-fire to allow the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and the admission of humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

Qatari officials, as well as officials from the United States, Israel, and Hamas, have been claiming for days that a deal is imminent.

According to Israeli estimates, Hamas is keeping more than 200 hostages taken when its fighters stormed into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people.

According to a statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, 50 women and children would be released over the course of four days, during which fighting would be suspended.

The halt would be prolonged by one day for every additional ten hostages released, it stated, without mentioning the release of Palestinian captives in compensation.


“Israel’s government is committed to returning all the hostages home. Tonight, it approved the proposed deal as a first step to achieving this goal,” said the statement, released after hours of deliberation that were closed to the press.

The 50 hostages would be exchanged for 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli jails, according to Hamas. According to the Palestinian group, the cease-fire agreement will also allow hundreds of trucks of humanitarian, medical, and fuel relief to reach Gaza.

It went on to say that Israel had promised not to assault or detain anyone in Gaza during the truce period.

The Qatari government stated that 50 civilian women and children hostages would be released from Gaza in exchange for the release “of a number of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons”.


The truce’s start date would be revealed within the next 24 hours, according to a statement.

According to Gaza authorities, the agreement marks the first truce in a conflict in which Israeli bombardments have flattened swaths of Hamas-ruled Gaza, killed 13,300 civilians, and left roughly two-thirds of the 2.3 million residents homeless.

Before meeting with his whole cabinet, Netanyahu discussed the agreement with his war cabinet and the wider national security cabinet on Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement of the accord, Netanyahu stated that US President Joe Biden’s involvement had helped to improve the tentative arrangement, which contained more captives and fewer concessions.


However, Netanyahu stated that Israel’s overall objective had not altered.

“We are at war, and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals. To destroy Hamas, return all our hostages, and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel,” he said in a recorded message at the start of the government meeting.

Hamas, in its statement, said, “As we announce the striking of a truce agreement, we affirm that our fingers remain on the trigger, and our victorious fighters will remain on the lookout to defend our people and defeat the occupation.”

Three Americans, including a 3-year-old girl whose parents were killed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, are expected to be among the captives released, according to a senior US official.


According to Israel’s authorities, more than half of the captives held dual or foreign citizenship from more than 40 countries, including the United States, Thailand, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Germany, Chile, Spain, and Portugal.

According to Israeli media, the first hostage release is scheduled for Thursday. According to sources, the accord must be implemented after 24 hours to allow Israeli citizens to petition the Supreme Court to prevent the release of Palestinian detainees.

Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry of Qatar, told Reuters that the International Committee of the Red Cross would be working inside Gaza to secure the release of the hostages.

“It’s going to be an intensive period where we’re going to be 24/7 in direct communication with the ICRC and the two parties, making sure that we perfect the release of the hostages,” Al-Khulaifi said.


He added that the truce means there would be “no attack whatsoever. No military movements, no expansion, nothing.”

Al-Khulaifi further revealed that Qatar hopes the deal “will be a seed for a bigger agreement and a permanent ceasefire.”And that’s our intention.”

Hamas has to date released only four captives: U.S. citizens Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter, Natalie Raanan, 17, on Oct. 20, citing “humanitarian reasons,” and Israeli women Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, on Oct. 23.

Late Tuesday, the armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which partnered with Hamas in the Oct. 7 raid, revealed the death of one of the Israeli hostages it had held since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

“We previously expressed our willingness to release her for humanitarian reasons, but the enemy was stalling, and this led to her death,” Al Quds Brigades said on its Telegram channel.


While everyone’s attention was focused on the hostage release agreement, combat on the ground continued. According to Mounir Al-Barsh, director-general of Gaza’s health ministry, the Israeli military ordered the evacuation of the Indonesian hospital in Gaza City. According to him, Israel alleged militants were operating from the facility and threatened to act against them within four hours.

Israel also stated on Tuesday that its forces had ringed the Jabalia refugee camp, a congested urban extension of Gaza City where Hamas has been fighting advancing Israeli armored forces.

According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, an Israeli air strike on a section of Jabalia killed 33 Palestinians and injured dozens more.

According to Hamas-affiliated media in southern Gaza, an Israeli air strike on an apartment in the city of Khan Younis killed 10 people and injured 22 others.

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