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Truce between Israel and Hamas will come into effect Friday, Qatar says

Hatem Ali Associated Press Palestinians evacuate wounded after Israeli strike Thursday in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Hazel Ward – Agence France-Presse in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem respectively

10:48 a.m.

  • Middle East

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. p>

“The humanitarian break will begin at 7 a.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Friday,” said Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari, indicating that 13 female and child hostages will be released “at around 4 p.m. the same day,” as Israeli bombardments on the Gaza Strip continued on Thursday.

The armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas confirmed the start of the truce at 7 a.m. Friday, with “a complete cessation of military activities” for four days, during which 50 hostages, women and children under 19 years old, 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, the 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 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 just be a pause”, however, warned the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, calling for it to be used to prevent the “resumption of Israeli aggression”.

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Strikes on Khan Younès

The war was sparked by an attack of unprecedented scale and violence in Israeli history carried out on October 7 by Hamas on Israeli soil. According to the authorities, 1,200 people, the vast majority civilians, were killed.

Approximately 240 people were kidnapped on the day of the attack.

In retaliation, Israel, which promised to “annihilate” the Palestinian Islamist movement, relentlessly bombs the Gaza Strip, where more than 14,100 people have been killed, including more than 5,800 children, according to the Hamas government, which took power there in 2007.

Fighting continued throughout the night in the territory of some 360 ​​km2, which has been besieged since October 9 by Israel, which has cut off water, electricity and fuel supplies and has been carrying out a ground offensive since October 27.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported “dozens” of deaths in different areas of Gaza.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is taking part in the fighting, reported clashes in the heart of Gaza City in the north. In the south, the strikes targeted the region of Khan Younes, from where immense columns of black smoke rose, lit by bomb explosions.

“I think there is still around twenty people under the rubble,” a Palestinian searching for survivors in a destroyed building in Bani Souheila, east of the city, told AFP.

Dozens of people unidentified women, who died in hospitals in the north of the territory, were buried Wednesday in a mass grave in a cemetery in Khan Younès.

In Gaza City, the director of al-Chifa hospital, Mohammed Abou Salmiya, was arrested, according to a doctor at Gaza's largest facility.

Dr. Mohammed Abou Salmiya was “transferred for be questioned” confirmed Thursday the Israeli army which controls the hospital where it is searching underground military infrastructures used according to them by Hamas.

“Difficult choice”

The Israeli government approved the truce agreement despite internal dissensions.

“I often have to decide between a difficult choice and an even more difficult choice, and this is particularly the case with the hostages,” Benjamin Netanyahu underlined on Wednesday evening.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, support of Hamas and whose country does not recognize Israel, considered that “the temporary ceasefire” was “a great victory” for the Islamist movement.

The main association of hostage families declared itself “happy” with an agreement for a “partial release” of hostages, without knowing for the moment “who will be released and when”.

“It gives me hope to see my daughters return,” said Maayan Zin, mother of two children held in Gaza.

In occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinian Samira Douayyat spoke of the possible release of his daughter Shourouk, 26, who will have served half of her 16-year prison sentence. “I cry, I laugh, I tremble,” she told AFP.

Insufficient truce


The bombings have devastated the Palestinian territory and caused a serious humanitarian crisis according to the UN, including the displacement of around 1.7 million of Gaza's 2.4 million residents, where aid is trickling in.

The truce will allow the entry of “a greater number of humanitarian and aid convoys, including fuel” than currently, Qatar said.

Some 200 to 300 aid trucks will enter Gaza, including eight with fuel and gas, said Hamas executive Taher al-Nounou.

But this truce is “insufficient” to bring in the aid needed in Gaza, several international NGOs underlined, calling for a real ceasefire while many trucks are waiting for the Israeli green light to pass through the Rafah crossing.

“Before the war, we worked two or three days before a break. Today, we have been in the same place for seven days without moving,” an Egyptian driver, Alaa Moustafa, told AFP. Prior to these hostilities, the Gaza Strip had been under a strict Israeli blockade for 16 years.

Despite the agreement, Israel maintained that the war would continue. “We’re not stopping the war. We will continue until victory, we continue (military operations) in other sectors” controlled by Hamas, Israeli Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi said Thursday during a troop review in Gaza, according to the Israeli army.

“We confirm that our hands will remain on the trigger,” warned the Islamist movement, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

“” A truce to bring in new We don't want help. We want to return home,” says Maysara Assabagh, 42, who took refuge in Khan Younès. »

Hezbollah and Houthis


The war raises fears of a regional escalation as Hamas's pro-Iranian allies, Lebanese Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis, are targeting Israeli territory.

Hezbollah on Thursday claimed responsibility for at least ten attacks against various Israeli border positions, claiming to have caused victims. The Israeli army responded with artillery fire on South Lebanon, according to the official Lebanese agency.

In the Red Sea, an American warship intercepted explosive drones launched from Yemen on Thursday by Houthi rebels, according to the United States.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116