Qatar has declared a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, scheduled to commence at 7 a.m. local time on Friday. The announcement came after six weeks of intense fighting, with the ceasefire expected to bring a comprehensive halt to military actions in both northern and southern Gaza.
The truce, brokered with the assistance of Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, aims to pave the way for a lasting peace.
The ceasefire will kick off with the release of 13 Israeli hostages by Hamas at 4 p.m. local time on the same day. The hostages, comprising women and children, will be handed over to the Red Cross to ensure a safe transfer.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Majed al-Ansari, emphasized the humanitarian focus in prioritizing hostages, expressing hope for momentum generated by the deal to ease the hardships faced by the people in Gaza.
The Qatar Foreign Ministry acknowledges the challenges in determining the exact mechanics of the operation, citing the volatile war zone conditions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed commitment to evacuating all hostages and eradicating Hamas, emphasizing the absence of hope for peace without eliminating the perceived threat.
The truce faced a minor delay, attributed by an Israeli official to “fairly minor implementation details.”
The initial ceasefire is set to last four days, during which all military activities by al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ armed wing) and Israeli forces will cease.
Hamas plans to release a total of 50 Israeli hostages during this four-day pause, while Israel will free 150 Palestinian detainees.
Talks surrounding subsequent releases and the possibility of extending the ceasefire are ongoing.
Israel is coordinating efforts with the Red Cross, and the Qatari Foreign Ministry expects aid to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing once the ceasefire begins.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, is engaging with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to address the crisis, emphasizing the need to secure the release of all hostages and provide humanitarian aid.