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

Israel-Hamas Truce will begin at 7am on Friday with the release of the first hostages

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

Dr. Majed al Ansari, spokesman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, said he received a list of civilians to be released at around 4pm local time on Friday and that families would be given priority.

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

“We hope we don’t see any more delays,” he said.

“I think we’ve reached a point where everything is in place, we’re ready to take action.”

The agreement, agreed following talks mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the USA, will include a Red Cross visit to the hostages and the supply of medicines.

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

Dr. Ansari said humanitarian aid will begin flowing into Gaza as soon as the truce begins, adding that it is “a fraction” of what is needed.

The ceasefire was scheduled to come into force 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 the expected announcement of the official start time had still not materialized.

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

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

Hamas agreed to release 50 Israeli women and children hostages held by fighters in Gaza, in exchange for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.

Israel said the truce could last beyond the initial four days as long as fighters released at least 10 hostages a day.


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