After seven weeks of bombardments resulting in loss of lives and property, Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce beginning Friday with the first batch of Israeli hostages released later, Qatar said on Thursday.
What are the details of the deal?
Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari while addressing the reporters in Doha, informed that the truce deal would include a comprehensive ceasefire in both the north and south of the Gaza Strip.
The first ceasefire in the war triggered by the Hamas terror attacks on Israel on October 7, would be accompanied by the release of 50 women and children hostages captured by the Hamas terrorists, while around 150 Palestinian detainees would also be released from Israeli jails as part of the deal.
The first group of hostages to be released on Friday would be 13 women and children, Ansari further informed. “If there were a group of hostages from the same family they will be released together in this first batch,” he added.
“During these four days, information will be collected about the rest of the hostages to consider the possibility of more releases and thus extending the pause,” Ansari added.
However, Israel has said that the peace deal could go beyond four days if Hamas would set free at least 10 hostages per day. The Qatar spokesperson also said that it hoped to negotiate a subsequent agreement to release additional hostages from Gaza by the fourth day of the truce. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu also made it clear that the country was not ending its war on Gaza and that the stopping of fighting was only temporary.
Commenting on the pause, Ansari said that it entailed “a complete ceasefire… with no attacks from the air or the ground,” adding that he hoped “there will be no violations”.
Additionally, the armed wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades has said that during the four-day truce, all military actions and Israeli forces would cease. Hostile aircraft would completely halt flights over the southern Gaza Strip and would also cease flying for six hours daily, from 10 am to 4 pm, over Gaza and the northern areas, it said.
Hamas further claimed that Israel agreed not to attack or arrest anyone in Gaza, and people can move freely along Salah al-Din Street, the main road along which many Palestinians have fled northern Gaza.
How will it be implemented?
Qatar said that the International Committee of the Red Cross will work in Gaza to facilitate the release of the hostages. They are expected to be transferred through Egypt. During the peace deal duration, trucks with aid and fuel are expected to cross into Gaza, where 2.3 million people have been running out of food and many hospitals have shut down in part because they no longer have fuel for their generators.
The Hamas armed wing said on Thursday that around 200 aid trucks and four fuel trucks would enter Gaza daily.
Who are the hostages being released?
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Thursday that it had received an initial list of hostages to be released from Gaza. Among the 50 women and children being released by Hamas, there are three US citizens, including a girl who turns 4 on Friday, Reuters reported citing a US official.
Who negotiated the truce deal?
The truce deal, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, is to take effect in stages that can be extended and broadened. It is also intended to provide aid to Gaza’s 2.4 million residents.
The deal came after seven weeks of war in the Gaza Strip after Hamas terrorists broke through the Israel on October 7 in an unprecedented attack which claimed at least 1,200 lives and around 240 taken hostage.
On the other hand, Israeli bombardments and a ground invasion since then have killed more than 14,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas.
(With inputs from agencies)