Israel and Hamas have reached a breakthrough agreement, initiating a four-day ceasefire and the release of over 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza.
This significant step toward de-escalation comes after seven weeks of conflict, resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis within the region.
According to CNN report, the arrangement, outlined by Qatar’s lead negotiator in a statement, involves the release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel.
Additionally, the ceasefire will facilitate increased humanitarian aid and convoys into the area, aiming to alleviate the crisis.
The exact commencement of the ceasefire is set to be announced within the next 24 hours, according to the statement.
Minister of State Mohammed Al-Khulaifi from Qatar expressed hope that this agreement would catalyze further diplomatic progress, urging the international community to seize this moment.
Notably, Hamas currently holds 239 hostages, including individuals from 26 countries, a result of coordinated attacks on October 7 that resulted in a significant loss of life.
The deal, which follows extensive negotiations involving the United States and Egypt and was endorsed by Israel’s cabinet after a tense and emotional meeting, holds the potential for an extension beyond the initial four-day period, contingent on the release of additional hostages.
However, Israel reiterated its intention to resume military operations to eradicate Hamas once the current hostage releases conclude.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said that the precise start time of the ceasefire and details surrounding the hostages’ release are still being finalized.
The deal followed mounting pressure on the Israeli government from the families of the hostages, who have demanded answers and action from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.