Israel-Hamas 4-Day Truce Begins Today; 13 Hostages To Be Freed In First Batch | World News


TEL AVIV: In a significant development, a four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is set to kick off on Friday morning, as announced by Qatar on Thursday. The cease-fire, scheduled to commence at 7 am local time, will witness the release of 13 women and children hostages at 4 pm.

Hostage Lists Exchanged Between Qatar, Mossad

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, disclosed that the list of captives earmarked for release has been shared with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. The reciprocal exchange of lists between the two parties is a crucial step before the release process can begin.

“The confirmation of both lists is pivotal to initiate the process of freeing people,” emphasized Al-Ansari, as reported by CNN.

Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Deal

Under the deal outlined earlier, 150 Palestinian prisoners would be released from Israeli jails. The prisoners concerned are women and children, Hamas said Wednesday, adding that the agreement also involves the entry of hundreds of trucks carrying aid relief, medical supplies and fuel to all parts of the besieged territory. The Israeli government on Wednesday published a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners for possible release, as Israel is offering a potential second phase of exchanges.

The list includes the ages of the prisoners, and the charges on which they are being held – throwing stones and “harming regional security” are among the most common. Others are listed as detained for supporting illegal terror organizations, illegal weapons charges, incitement, and at least two accusations of attempted murder.

Prisoner Transfer And Red Cross Examinations

The 13 captives are slated to be transferred from Damon and Megiddo jails, situated southeast of Haifa, to Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank. The final step involves Red Cross examinations at Ofer prison, ensuring the well-being of the released individuals.

Delay In Ceasefire

Initial plans for the cease-fire, which was supposed to start at 10 am local time on Thursday, with the release of over 50 women and children prisoners in Gaza, faced a delay. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, highlighted the unpredictability of the situation, stating, “Nothing is finalized until it’s actually happening.”

Hagari also noted that the IDF continues its operations in the Gaza Strip at present, underlining that once the cease-fire takes effect, Israeli soldiers will be positioned along the designated “truce lines” within the territory.

Netanyahu’s Warning

Netanyahu warned on Thursday, however, that getting the first group of hostages out of Gaza is “not without its challenges.” “We hope to get this first tranche out, and then we’re committed to getting everyone out,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

Officials and analysts in Israel have long cautioned that any deal would be precarious up until the hostages were safely across the border.

Gaza War

The escalation in Gaza traces back to the October 7 attack by Hamas, where approximately 2,500 militants breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip. This incursion resulted in casualties and the capture of hostages, totalling around 240 individuals. Hamas terrorists, during the assault, infiltrated southern Israel, leading to the tragic loss of about 1,200 lives, predominantly civilians. The hostages, spanning all age groups and including individuals from diverse nationalities, were taken during the brutal attack.

The Times of Israel reported that the victims included not only Israeli citizens but also Thai and Nepali nationals, emphasizing the widespread impact of the conflict. As the cease-fire comes into effect, the international community watches closely, hopeful for a respite in the ongoing tensions between Israel and Hamas.

The Fighting Will Continue Forcefully: IDF

The IDF had continued ground and air operations in Gaza on Wednesday ahead of the expected start of the truce, carrying out strikes in the north-eastern and central parts of the Gaza Strip. Areas further south, including Khan Younis and Rafah, were also hit, according to Palestinian accounts.


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