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What do we know about Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza, hostage deal?


The first temporary humanitarian truce between Hamas and Israel entered into force in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The agreement entered into force at 7:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT), and it was reported that there were no Israeli aircraft flying over the Gaza Strip.

This is scheduled to be followed by the release of 13 Israeli detainees in the Gaza Strip at 4:00 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).

The agreement is the first truce between the two sides since October 7 after weeks of mediation by Qatar and Egypt. 


What will happen in Gaza during the truce?

Confirming the truce agreement had taken effect, Diaa Rashwan, chairman of Egypt's State Information Service (SIS), said in a statement that 130,000 liters of diesel and four trucks of gas from Egypt will enter the Gaza Strip daily.

Some 200 trucks, loaded with food, medicine and water, can enter daily for the first time since the start of the war on October 7, he said.

Egypt will continue to receive wounded and injured children from Gaza for treatment in Egyptian hospitals, helping foreigners and dual nationals detained in the Gaza Strip travel to their own countries, the SIS's chairman said.

He added that the Egyptian side will also allow the entry of Palestinians stranded in the country into the Gaza Strip at their will.

Palestinians stranded in Egypt have begun entering the Gaza Strip for the first time since the beginning of Israeli military operations, Egypt's Al Qahera News reported on Friday.

Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV reported that since the start of the truce, no sounds of bombing were heard in Gaza. But it said Israeli forces were preventing residents from returning to their homes in the densely populated northern part of the enclave.

For Palestinians in Gaza, 1.7 million of whom have fled their homes according to the United Nations, a respite in the brutal fighting cannot come soon enough.

Displaced Palestinians wait in line as volunteers cook a meal in Dair El-Balah in the Gaza Strip, November 23, 2023. /CFP
Displaced Palestinians wait in line as volunteers cook a meal in Dair El-Balah in the Gaza Strip, November 23, 2023. /CFP

Displaced Palestinians wait in line as volunteers cook a meal in Dair El-Balah in the Gaza Strip, November 23, 2023. /CFP

Hostages to be released

Under the deal, at least 50 hostages, mainly children and women, would be freed for the release of about 150 women and teen Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons, according to a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

It also offered Hamas an incentive to release more, saying "the release of every additional 10 hostages will result in one additional day in the pause."

The 50 hostages, expected to be released in four batches, will be Israeli nationals or dual nationals, rather than foreigners.

Majid al-Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry, told reporters in Doha on Thursday afternoon that the first group of hostages to be released on Friday would comprise 13 children and women, some of them elderly. "Hostages from the same family will be put together in the same batch," he noted.

A senior Israeli official said on Tuesday afternoon that Hamas could also unilaterally release the 26 Thai nationals believed to be among the hostages.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been designated to receive the hostages in Gaza, as its staff did when Hamas freed two Israeli-American women and two Israeli women last month.

Israel is currently holding about 7,000 Palestinians accused or convicted of security offenses, according to Israeli and Palestinian rights groups. Almost 3,000 Palestinians are reported to have been arrested in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where violence has also surged, since October 7.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: A UN-provided tent camp for Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is seen in Khan Younis, November 19, 2023. /CFP)

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