Conflicts & War

Hamas confirms truce deal with Israel

(Update 1 with Hamas and other details, changes headline and lede, minor edits)

Rafah, Gaza/Jerusalem, Nov 22 (EFE).- Hamas has announced that it has reached a truce agreement with Israel for four days, following the separate Israeli government announcement of the pact in exchange for the release of 50 hostages held captive in Gaza.

The agreement involves the temporary cessation of Israeli military actions and the entry into Gaza of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and fuel, as well as the release of 150 Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel in exchange for the release of 50 children and women who were captured by Gazan militias in the assault on Israel on Oct. 7.

“After difficult and complex negotiations for many days, we announce, with the help and success of God Almighty, that we have reached a humanitarian truce agreement (temporary ceasefire) for a period of four days, with persistent and appreciated Qatari and Egyptian efforts,” Hamas said in a statement.

The pact means “a ceasefire by both parties, a cessation of all military actions by the occupation army in all areas of the Gaza Strip, and a cessation of the movement of its military vehicles penetrating into the Gaza Strip.”

It will also involve “the entrance of hundreds of trucks of humanitarian relief, medical and fuel aid into all areas of the Gaza Strip, without exception, in the north and south.”

Israel “is committed not to attack or arrest anyone in all areas of the Gaza Strip” during the time period, added Hamas, after 47 days of war that have created a severe humanitarian crisis and wreaked devastation in the Palestinian enclave.

During the truce, Israel must halt air traffic in the south of the Gaza Strip, while in the north, air traffic would be halted for six hours a day, from 10 am to 4 pm.

In turn, Israel must guarantee the movement of people along Salahedin Avenue, the main artery that crosses Gaza from north to south, and where evacuations have taken place in recent weeks.

Hamas’ announcement comes after Israel approved an agreement on Tuesday with the main goal of freeing its hostages in Gaza.

All members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government voted in favor of the exchange and truce except the three ministers of the Jewish Power party of the far-right and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

In a brief statement published after Tuesday’s meeting, Israel said that “it is obliged to return all the hostages home.”

“The Israeli government is committed to bringing all the abductees home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal, under which at least 50 abductees – women and children – will be released over a span of four days, during which there will be a lull in the fighting,” the statement read, adding that for every 10 additional hostages released, there will be one more day of pause.

Qatar is expected to announce more details of the agreement in the coming hours, but according to leaked information, the release of a minimum of 50 hostages, mostly children and their mothers, is expected, with the possibility that the number will be expanded to 80 in a future ceasefire that could extend to a few more days.

Hamas will take the hostages to Egypt through the Rafah crossing in daily groups of about 10 and, from there, they will be transferred to Israel. For its part, Israel must release 150 Palestinian prisoners, also mostly women and children.

Estimates say Hamas is holding between 210 and 240 hostages, while the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is holding about 30.

Islamic Jihad also confirmed “the achievement of a partial prisoner exchange agreement” with Israel. In a statement, the movement clarified that non-civilian hostages under the control of the militias will not get freedom until “all Palestinian prisoners are released.”

According to Israeli public television, the temporary cessation of hostilities will begin Thursday to allow 24 hours for the presentation of possible appeals to the government decision before the Supreme Court.

No soldiers or men will be released nor will the bodies of deceased hostages be recovered. However, the media said they could exchange elderly men and hostages with foreign nationality.

Another point highlighted by the Israeli press is that Hamas must provide the names of the people released one day in advance.

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