Four-day truce between Israel-Hamas to start today

13 hostages to be freed in first batch

Doha: A four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will begin on Friday morning, with civilian hostages and Palestinian prisoners set to be freed later in the afternoon, Qatar announced on Thursday, according to CNN.

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According to Majed Al-Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, the cease-fire will begin at 7 am local time, with 13 women and children captives set to be released at 4 pm.

According to Al-Ansari, the list of captives scheduled to be freed has been sent to the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad.

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The Qatari spokesperson stated that Mossad will provide the Qataris with a list of Palestinian inmates who are likely to be released. “Whenever we have both lists confirmed, this is when we can begin with the process of getting people out,” the official went on to say, according to CNN.

The prisoners will be transferred from two jails, Damon and Megiddo, both southeast of Haifa, to the Ofer prison, south of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, for final Red Cross examinations.

Earlier on Wednesday, an Israeli official told CNN that the truce will begin at 10 am local time on Thursday, followed by the release of at least 50 women and children among the more than 230 people being held prisoner in Gaza. However, those preparations were postponed late Wednesday, just hours before the cease-fire was supposed to begin.

“Nothing is finalised until it’s actually happening. And even amid the process, changes might occur at any moment,” Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in his daily press briefing on Thursday.

According to CNN, Hagari asserted that the Israeli army continues to fight in the Gaza Strip “at this hour,” pointing out that once the pause goes into effect, the soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces will be stationed along the “truce lines” established inside the territory.

The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Hamas seized about 240 hostages during the assault when they surged across Gaza’s militarised border into southern Israel, The Times of Israel reported.

The hostages were of all ages and including young children and elderly people, as well as Thai and Nepali nationals.

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