Israel-Hamas Ceasefire To Begin Shortly, Hostage Release Later Today: Qatar

Israel-Hamas Ceasefire To Begin Shortly, Hostage Release Later Today: Qatar

New Delhi:
A short truce in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza will start in a few hours and exchange of hostages is expected to take place later today, mediator Qatar said. The four-day pause in fighting comes after nearly seven weeks of intense fighting.

Here are 10 latest updates on the Israel-Hamas war:

  1. The ceasefire would begin at 10.30 am IST, while the first group of hostages will be released by Hamas hours later, around 7.30 pm IST, according to Qatar’s foreign ministry.

  2. The “first batch” of civilian hostages would consist of 13 women and children from the same families.  The number would rise up to 50 over the four days, according to the deal brokered by Qatar and the US.

  3. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was in contact with the families of the hostages after receiving “a first list of names” of those due to be released.

  4. Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would also be released on Friday, Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari said, adding a list of names had been approved, without saying how many.

  5. The accord was orchestrated by Qatar and the US and officially announced earlier this week. The secretive effort included tense personal diplomatic engagement by US President Joe Biden, who held a number of urgent conversations with the emir of Qatar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the weeks leading up to the deal.

  6. The agreement entailed a “complete ceasefire with no attacks from the air or the ground” and the skies clear of drones to “allow for the hostage release to happen in a safe environment”. Hamas confirmed the cessation of hostilities would start at 10.30 am IST under the deal that is also intended to provide aid to Gaza’s 2.4 million residents struggling to survive with shortages of food, water, and fuel. It said a total of 50 hostages — females, and males aged 18 or under — would be freed, with three Palestinian prisoners to be released for each of them.

  7. Israeli Defence Forces have launched an offensive in Gaza since 1,200 citizens were killed in a Hamas attack on October 7. Hamas had also taken nearly 240 hostages, mostly civilians when their operatives burst across the border fence and raided towns in Southern Israel.

  8. Since then, some 13,000 Gazans have been killed by Israeli bombardment, around 40% of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities. However, they have said it has become increasingly difficult to keep an up-to-date tally as the health service has buckled under the Israeli bombardment.

  9. International pressure has been growing on Israel to end the war amid a risk of the conflict escalating and spilling into the Middle East.

  10. The Iran-backed Hezbollah group, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the US, has launched attacks on Israel from Southern Lebanon. The group said it launched 48 Katyusha rockets at an Israeli army base earlier today. Israel said it intercepted some of them and struck back.

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