Israel Hamas ceasefire begins after 48 days of war

Israel Hamas ceasefire begins after 48 days of war

Israel-Hamas ceasefire begins, Israeli Army stating that the humanitarian pause is temporary and the war is not over.

A four-day ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is begin at 7 am local time on Friday (0500 GMT), as announced by Majed al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry. This truce, initially intended to last four or five days, was declared early on Wednesday, fostering hopes for a more enduring pause in the ongoing violence.

The release of hostages is expected to follow on Friday afternoon. Israel and Hamas have exchanged lists of individuals to be released, with Hamas anticipated to release 13 women and children, as mentioned by Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Ansari. The specifics of how many Palestinian women and children will be released on Friday or the exact timing were not explicitly stated.

Israel has informed the families of hostages set to be released on Friday, according to Daniel Hagari, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson. Notably, Joe Biden has expressed optimism, stating that he has his “fingers crossed” for the release of a three-year-old Israeli-American girl.

In the broader context of the agreement, Hamas has agreed to release at least 50 of the more than 240 hostages, predominantly Israeli, held since launching attacks into southern Israel on October 7. In return, Israel will release a minimum of 150 Palestinian prisoners and facilitate the entry of up to 300 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza, following over six weeks of bombardment, intense fighting, and a debilitating blockade affecting fuel, food, medicine, and other essentials.

In a separate agreement, Hamas is poised to unconditionally release 23 Thai hostages held in Gaza, following Iran-mediated talks, according to a report by the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site. Additionally, a special flight has evacuated 103 Russian nationals from Gaza, with more than 750 Russian evacuees in total, including over 300 children.

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