Israel-Hamas ceasefire to begin on Friday – Qatar
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a temporary ceasefire which will begin at 7am local time on Friday, the Qatari Foreign Ministry has announced. A spokesperson for the ministry also said Hamas will release a first group of 13 hostages at 4pm on the same day.
As reported by the New York Times, the military wing of Hamas has also confirmed the four-day truce in a statement on Telegram.
Israel, meanwhile, has suggested that the ceasefire could last even longer, on condition that Palestinian militants continue to release at least ten hostages per day, according to Reuters.
The ceasefire was initially set to begin on Thursday morning, but Israel announced a delay on Wednesday, the same day the deal had been reported.
Both Israel and Hamas previously declared that they had reached an agreement for the release of 50 women and children currently being held hostage in Gaza. The deal would involve an exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children who would be freed from Israeli jails over the course of a four-day ceasefire.
That deal as well as the terms of the ceasefire were brokered with the help of Qatari, Egyptian, and American mediators.
It is believed that over 200 people, including foreign nationals, have been taken hostage by Hamas since the group’s initial October 7 attack on Israeli territories near Gaza. The assault left some 1,200 Israelis dead.
In response, Israel launched an extensive military campaign against Hamas militants in Gaza, conducting weeks of airstrikes. More than 13,000 Palestinians, including over 5,000 children, have been killed in the bombardment, according to health officials in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.