Gaza Ceasefire, Hostage Release To Start Friday: Qatar

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is scheduled to commence on Friday morning, as announced by Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman, Majed Al-Ansari. The pause, starting at 7:00 AM local time, will witness the release of hostages, with the first group of thirteen individuals, consisting of women and children from the same families, set to be handed over at approximately 4:00 PM.

The agreement, reached on Wednesday with mediation from Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, involves the release of at least 50 hostages and numerous Palestinian prisoners over a four-day truce.

The deal, subject to potential extensions and expansions, aims to bring relief to Gaza’s 2.4 million residents through humanitarian aid. The conflict, which began on October 7 when Hamas militants breached the Gaza border, resulted in approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, and around 240 individuals taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

Over the weeks of hostilities, more than 14,000 people, predominantly women and children, have lost their lives due to relentless Israeli bombardments and a subsequent ground invasion, as reported by the Hamas government in Gaza.

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