Israel-Hamas war: truce and release of hostages will begin Friday, ures Qatar

The truce in the fighting between Israel and Hamas will begin early Friday morning and a first group of 13 hostages will be released in the afternoon, Qatar announced Thursday, with Hamas confirming the exchange with Palestinian prisoners.

The humanitarian break will begin at 7:00 a.m. (local time) on Friday,” said Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari, indicating that 13 female and child hostages will be released “around 4:00 p.m. the same day,” as Israeli bombardments on the Gaza Strip continue on Thursday.

Israel confirmed that it had “received a first list of names” of hostages

The armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas confirmed the start of the truce at 7:00 a.m. Friday, with “a complete cessation of military activities” for four days, during which 50 hostages, women and children under 19 years, will be released in return, for each of them, for the release of “three Palestinian prisoners, women and children”.

Israel confirmed Thursday that it had “received a first list of names” of hostages, and said it was “in contact with all the families”. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not specify whether it was talking about all the hostages, all those released or the first group concerned.

Qatar, a key mediator, announced on Wednesday, on the 47th day of the war, a four-day truce in the fighting, providing for an exchange of hostages held in Gaza and Palestinians held in three Israeli prisons. The agreement provides for an exchange “of 10 hostages for 30 prisoners” on the first day of the truce, for a total of 50 civilian hostages released in four days for 150 Palestinians. Israel has released a list of 300 prisoners likely to be released, including 33 women and 267 young people under the age of 19.

On Wednesday, the international community welcomed the agreement, seeing it as a first step towards a lasting ceasefire. This truce “cannot only be a pause”, however, warned the Palestinian ambador to the UN, calling for it to be used to prevent the “resumption of Israeli aggression”.

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