Qatar says Israel and Hamas to start four-day truce Friday morning


GAZA/DOHA — A truce between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas will begin on Friday morning, with civilian captives set to be released from Gaza later in the day, a spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry has said.

The agreement, the first in nearly seven weeks of brutal war, would begin at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and involve a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari told reporters in Doha.

Aid would start flowing into Gaza, Israeli hostages would be freed at 4 p.m. and it was expected that Palestinians would be released from Israeli jails as part of the deal.

“Those hostages who are from the same families will be put together within the same patch,” Al-Ansari said.

“Every day will include a number of civilians as agreed to total 50 within the four days.”

Al-Ansari said the Red Cross was coordinating with all parties involved with the release of the captives held in Gaza.

“Our main objective here is the safety of the hostages,” he said.

Hamas confirmed on its Telegram channel that all hostilities from its forces would cease.

Israel has received an initial list of hostages to be released from Gaza, planned to take place after a ceasefire with Hamas takes hold on Friday, the Israeli prime minister’s office said on Thursday.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after gunmen from Hamas burst across the border fence, killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages on Oct. 7, according to Israeli tallies.

Since then, more than 14,000 Gazans have been killed by Israeli bombardment, around 40% of them children, according to health authorities in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Israel has said the truce could last beyond the initial four days as long as the militants free at least 10 hostages per day. A Palestinian source has said a second wave of releases could see as many as 100 hostages go free by the end of November.

Both sides have said they will go back to fighting once the truce is over. — Agencies

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