Israel-Hamas truce to begin at 7am on Friday with first hostages to be freed - Qatar

Israel-Hamas truce to begin at 7am on Friday with first hostages to be freed – Qatar

Israel-Hamas truce to begin at 7am on Friday with first hostages to be freed - Qatar

Thirteen women and children being held hostage by fighters in Gaza will be the first to be released – as the temporary truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas begins at 7am local time (5am UK time) on Friday, Qatar has said.

Dr Majed al Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, said it had received a list of the civilians to be freed around 4pm local time on Friday and families would be given priority.

He said it was expected Israel would release Palestinian prisoners in return as part of the deal.

 

Israel-Hamas truce to begin at 7am on Friday with first hostages to be freed - Qatar

“We are hoping that we don’t see any further delays,” he said.

“I think we have reached a point now where everything is in place, we are ready to go on the ground.”

The deal, agreed following talks mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US, will include the Red Cross visiting the hostages and bringing medicines to them.

It would also mean hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, medical and fuel supplies would be allowed to enter Gaza, while Israel would halt all air missions over southern Gaza and maintain a daily six-hour daytime no-fly window in the north.

Dr Ansari said humanitarian aid would start flowing into Gaza as soon as the truce begins, adding it was “a fraction” of what it needs.

The ceasefire had been set to take effect at 10am local time on Thursday after six weeks of fighting.

The structured agreement was reached and confirmed on Wednesday morning, but more than a day later an expected announcement of the official start time had yet to materialise.

Asked about the delay, Dr al Ansari said discussions had been “very difficult and detailed”.

“We wanted to make sure that nothing would cause harm in the process of getting the hostages out, and the perimeters of the agreement are agreed upon in the operational sense, on both sides,” he said.

Hamas has agreed to free 50 Israeli women and child hostages held by fighters in Gaza, in exchange for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.

Israel had said the truce could last beyond the initial four days as long as the fighters freed at least 10 hostages per day.

 

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