4-day truce begins in Israel-Hamas war, sets stage for release of dozens of Gaza-held hostages

by Ethan Kim
Israel-Hamas ceasefire

The commencement of a four-day ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas occurred early Friday, paving the way for a hostage exchange involving numerous individuals held in Gaza. This truce offers respite for Gaza’s inhabitants who have suffered Israeli bombardment and Israelis anxious about captives taken in Hamas’ attack on October 7, initiating the conflict.

The ceasefire began at 7 a.m. local time and will last a minimum of four days. During this period, Hamas and other militant groups will release approximately 50 hostages captured on October 7, in exchange for Israel freeing 150 Palestinian prisoners, focusing on the release of women and children first. Israel has proposed extending the ceasefire by a day for every additional 10 hostages released.

This truce, which is a result of extensive indirect negotiations involving Qatar, the United States, and Egypt, represents a significant pause in the seven-week conflict. The agreement brings hope for de-escalating the war, which has caused extensive destruction in Gaza, escalated violence in the West Bank, and raised fears of a broader Middle East conflict. Israel, however, remains prepared to continue its offensive after the truce.

Hamas will release a first batch of 13 women and children on Friday afternoon, with Israel also releasing Palestinian prisoners in a similar demographic. Israel’s Justice Ministry has listed 300 eligible prisoners, mostly detained for minor offenses like stone-throwing.

The return of hostages is expected to uplift spirits in Israel, where their situation has been a major concern. The Israeli government has informed the families of hostages about the impending releases. Concurrently, aid flow into Gaza is expected to increase significantly, including essential supplies like fuel.

However, Israel continues to caution displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza against returning to their homes in the north, which has been a key focus of the Israeli ground offensive. The war, initiated by a large-scale Hamas incursion into southern Israel, has led to significant casualties and the capture of numerous individuals, including civilians and soldiers, by Hamas.

The Israeli airstrikes have resulted in over 13,300 Palestinian deaths, as per Gaza’s Health Ministry, with a considerable proportion being women and minors. The ministry’s figures do not distinguish between civilians and militants, and Israel claims to have eliminated thousands of Hamas fighters. Airstrikes continued up to the truce’s start.

In a recent attack, an airstrike demolished a building in the Nuseirat refugee camp, causing multiple fatalities. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to resume the military campaign post-truce to dismantle Hamas’ military capabilities and end its governance in Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has indicated that the military campaign is likely to intensify for at least two more months after the ceasefire. Meanwhile, Gaza’s residents express a mix of relief and skepticism about the ceasefire, acknowledging its limited duration but hoping for a more lasting peace.

For further details, visit the full AP coverage at https://bigbignews.net/israel-hamas-war.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Hamas ceasefire

What is the duration and significance of the recent Israel-Hamas ceasefire?

The ceasefire, which began early Friday, is scheduled to last four days. It marks a significant pause in the seven-week conflict between Israel and Hamas, setting the stage for the exchange of hostages and prisoners between the two parties.

How will the Israel-Hamas ceasefire impact the hostage situation?

During the ceasefire, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have committed to releasing about 50 of the hostages taken on October 7, in exchange for Israel freeing 150 Palestinian prisoners. The focus is initially on the release of women and children.

What led to the agreement of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire?

The ceasefire agreement was reached after weeks of intense indirect negotiations, facilitated by mediators from Qatar, the United States, and Egypt. It represents the first significant break in fighting since the onset of the conflict.

What are the potential outcomes of the ceasefire for the region?

The ceasefire brings hope for de-escalating the ongoing war, which has caused extensive destruction in Gaza and escalated violence in the West Bank. However, Israel has indicated it is prepared to resume its offensive post-ceasefire if necessary.

What aid measures are being implemented alongside the ceasefire?

Increased aid, including essential supplies like fuel, is expected to start entering Gaza “as soon as possible.” The aid is intended to address the humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the conflict.

More about Israel-Hamas ceasefire

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Jenny87 November 24, 2023 - 1:15 pm

isn’t it a bit suspicious that there’s no clear distinction between civilians and militants in the death tolls? Makes you question the real impact.

Dave_runs November 24, 2023 - 1:42 pm

How come Israel is ready to resume the offensive so quickly? Shouldn’t they give peace more of a chance, just saying.

Mike Janson November 25, 2023 - 12:36 am

wow, didn’t realise the ceasefire was only for four days, that’s really short! Wonder if it’ll actually help in the long run..

SarahK November 25, 2023 - 4:31 am

It’s heartbreatking to hear about all those casualties, especially the women and children, can’t imagine what they’re going through…


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