Israel and Hamas to start four-day truce on Friday morning: Qatari mediators

Israel and Palestinian group Hamas will start a four-day truce on Friday morning with the first batch of Israeli hostages released later that day, mediators in Qatar said.

The agreement – the first in a brutal, near seven-week-old war – would begin at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and involve a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry said.

Aid would start flowing into Gaza, Israeli hostages would be freed at 4 p.m. and it was expected that Palestinians would be released from Israeli jails as part of the deal, ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari told reporters in Doha.

Hamas – who had been expected to declare a truce with Israel a day earlier on Thursday only for negotiations to drag on – confirmed on its Telegram channel that all hostilities from its forces would cease.

Israel has received an initial list of hostages to be released from Gaza, planned to take place after a ceasefire with Hamas takes hold on Friday, the Israeli prime minister’s office said on Thursday.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after gunmen from Hamas burst across the border fence, killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages on October 7, according to Israeli tallies.

Since then, more than 14,000 Gazans have been killed by Israeli bombardment, around 40 percent of them children, according to health authorities in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Israel has said the truce could last beyond the initial four days as long as the militants free at least 10 hostages per day. A Palestinian source has said a second wave of releases could see as many as 100 hostages go free by the end of November.

Both sides have said they will go back to fighting once the truce is over.

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