Israel confirms truce deal with Hamas, approves release of Palestinian prisoners


Israel has confirmed that it has reached a temporary ceasefire deal with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, in Gaza.


The truce marks a major diplomatic breakthrough nearly seven weeks after the start of a conflict that has spiralled into a grave humanitarian crisis in the enclave.


A statement from the Israeli government on Wednesday said at least 50 hostages — women and children — will be released in Gaza over four days.


Israel however hinted that the ceasefire could be extended.


 “The release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause,” the statement said.


A Hamas statement said 150 Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children, held in Israeli jails will also be released as part of the deal.


The truce would also allow the entry of “a larger number of humanitarian convoys and relief aid,” the statement said, adding that the start time of the pause in fighting would be announced within the next 24 hours.


The deal comes a day after Hamas said it was closing in on a truce with Israel.


Hamas is holding 239 hostages in Gaza, including foreign nationals from 26 countries, according to figures from the Israeli military.


The abductions happened on October 7, when the militants crept into Israel in a coordinated attack, killing around 1,200 people — the largest such attack on Israel since the country’s founding in 1948.


In response, Israel vowed to “avenge the dark day” by annihilating the group.


Israel also imposed a blockade on Gaza, cutting off supplies of food, water, medicines and fuel, while launching a relentless air and ground assault.


Over 13,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health authorities.


Speaking further on the truce deal, the Israeli government said the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and other security services will continue the war in order to return home all of the hostages, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the country from Gaza.

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