Israel-Hamas truce: Release of hostages, prisoners to start Friday « Khabarhub
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Israel-Hamas truce: Release of hostages, prisoners to start Friday


24 November 2023  

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KATHMANDU: A truce between Israel and Hamas will begin Friday at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT), with the first group of hostages set to be released from Gaza at 4 p.m., according to a spokesperson for the foreign ministry of Qatar, which is helping to negotiate the deal.

The truce — the first since the war began last month — will include a comprehensive cease-fire in north and south Gaza, spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari told journalists in Doha.

According to the deal, 50 women and children who were abducted from Israel by the militant group Hamas on October 7 will be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and minors jailed in Israel.

Thirteen hostages will be released from Gaza on Friday, and additional groups of hostages will be released each day of the cease-fire until 50 are freed.

“We all hope that this truce will lead to a chance to start a wider work to achieve a permanent truce,” Al-Ansari said.

At the request of the Israeli government, child abuse experts from Jerusalem’s Haruv Institute have developed guidelines on how Israeli soldiers should handle the minors once they are released from Gaza.

Israel has received an initial list of the hostages who are to be released from Gaza on Friday, the Israeli prime minister’s office said Thursday.

“The relevant authorities are checking the details of the list and are presently in contact with all the families,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Under the deal, Israel is to pause its attacks on Gaza for four days. Additionally, Hamas confirmed on its Telegram channel that attacks from its forces also would pause.

The truce could last beyond the initial four days, Israel said, if Hamas releases at least 10 hostages per day. The Qatari spokesperson said Doha hopes to broker another agreement to release more hostages from Gaza by the truce’s fourth day.

The 50 hostages were initially expected to be released on Thursday. Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said in a statement late Wednesday that negotiations were continuing and that the first hostages held by Hamas in Gaza would not be released until at least Friday.

None of the identities of those being freed has been disclosed, but U.S. officials said they believe some of the nine American hostages believed to be held by Hamas would be among those released.

Egypt, which is also involved in the negotiations, is receiving lists of hostages and prisoners who are to be released, Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s state information service, said in a statement. He called on both sides to honor the agreement.

The spokesperson of Hamas’ armed wing on Thursday called for the escalation of hostilities with Israel.

“We call for escalation of the confrontation with the occupation throughout the West Bank and all resistance fronts,” Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said in a video message aired by Al Jazeera TV.

Israel’s military said Thursday it carried out aerial attacks on 300 Hamas targets during the past day, including tunnels, warehouses and anti-tank positions used by the militant group. Operations will continue until troops get the order to stop, an army spokesperson said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to ensure Hamas is unable to attack Israel in the future. He said in a news conference late Wednesday that following the end of a cease-fire period, Israel’s military would resume its campaign in Gaza.

“I want to be clear. The war is continuing. The war is continuing. We will continue it until we achieve all our goals,” Netanyahu said.

Israel began its military campaign to wipe out Hamas after the U.S.-designated terrorist group launched a cross-border attack on October 7. Israel said 1,200 people were killed that day and about 240 hostages taken back to Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 13,300 Palestinians, including at least 5,000 children, have been killed in Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israel announced Thursday it had detained the head of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital for questioning over his role in what it said was the hospital’s use by Hamas as a command center.

International concern has centered on the targeting of Gaza’s hospitals. Hospitals in northern Gaza are no longer functional, the territory’s Health Ministry said.

Israel said the four-day stop in fighting would be extended an extra day for every 10 additional hostages freed by Hamas. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it could assist with any release.

Israel’s Justice Ministry published a list of 300 prisoners eligible to be freed as part of the deal, mainly teenagers detained over the past year for rock-throwing and other minor offenses. Under Israeli law, the public has 24 hours to object to any release.

The Israeli military says it has detained more than 1,850 Palestinians in the West Bank since the war began, mostly suspected Hamas members. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed there, mainly during battles triggered by army raids. Attacks by Jewish settlers have also surged.

The pause in fighting will also allow for more humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in Gaza. Such assistance has been sharply curtailed since the fighting began.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 80 trucks reached the Palestinian enclave on Wednesday, bringing the total during the past month to 1,479 truckloads of aid. The agency said an average of 10,000 truckloads of commercial and humanitarian commodities were reaching Gaza each month prior to the conflict.

The United Nations said more than 1.7 million people have been displaced within Gaza, including 945,000 people staying at over-capacity U.N.-run shelters.

(VOA)

Publish Date : 24 November 2023 08:12 AM

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