Israel-Hamas announce 4-day ceasefire to facilitate hostage release, Gaza aid

| Updated: 22 November, 2023 3:02 pm IST

Israel’s government and Hamas have agreed to a four-day pause in the month-long conflict. The temporary truce aims to facilitate the release of 50 hostages held in Gaza. The deal also involves the exchange of 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for the release of hostages, as reported by the American news agency Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated that 50 women and children would be released over the next four days, with the possibility of extending the pause for every additional 10 hostages released.

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“Israel’s government is committed to return all the hostages home. Tonight, it approved the proposed deal as a first stage to achieving this goal,” said the statement.

 Hamas announced that the truce deal would also allow the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, including hundreds of trucks carrying medical, fuel, and other essential supplies.

However, Netanyahu emphasised that Israel’s broader mission remains unchanged. “We are at war and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals. To destroy Hamas, return all our hostages, and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel,” he said in a recorded message at the start of the government meeting.

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Notably, Israel committed not to attack or arrest anyone in all parts of Gaza during the truce period.

The starting time of the truce is set to be announced within the next 24 hours. Israel’s Justice Ministry has posted a list of about 300 Palestinian prisoners slated for release, possibly to address any last-minute legal challenges. US President Joe Biden welcomed the truce deal.

“Today’s deal should bring home additional American hostages, and I will not stop until they are all released,” Biden said in a statement.

The Qatar government clarified that the agreement involves the release of 50 civilian women and children hostages from Gaza in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.

READ MORE :Hamas chief suggests near completion of truce deal with Israel

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