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Israel-Hamas war: Hostage-for-prisoner swap and truce in Gaza ‘delayed’ | World News


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A temporary truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, lasting at least four days, has been delayed until Friday, according to Israel officials.

As part of the deal, there are plans for a hostage-for-prisoner swap and for more much-needed aid to get into the besieged coastal territory to help civilians suffering from severe shortages of food, medicine and basic services, including power.

The truce had been set to take effect at 10am local time on Thursday (8am UK time).

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, citing an Israeli official, reported there was a 24-hour delay in the agreement because the deal was not signed by Hamas and mediator Qatar.

The official said they were optimistic the agreement will be implemented when it is signed.

“Negotiations for the release of our captives are progressing and continue all the time,” Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

“The start of the release will proceed according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday,”
Hanegbi said.

Israel-Gaza latest: Four-day ceasefire agreed

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Large convoy waiting to enter Gaza

Hamas has agreed to free 50 Israeli women and child hostages held by militants in Gaza, in exchange for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.

It would also mean hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian, medical and fuel supplies would be allowed to enter Gaza, while Israel would halt all air missions over southern Gaza and maintain a daily six-hour daytime no-fly window in the north, Hamas said.

The deal, agreed following talks mediated by Qatar, will include the Red Cross visiting the hostages and bringing medicines to them, said Mr Netanyahu at a news conference.

He said that during the ceasefire, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) will prepare for the continuation of the war.

“The war continues,” the prime minister repeated twice. “We are winning and we are going to continue to fight until we reach absolute victory.”

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‘Red Cross to take medicine to hostages’

The 50 captives would be released over four days at a rate of at least 10 daily, his office earlier said.

Israel said the ceasefire would be extended an extra day for every additional 10 captives being freed, and a Palestinian source told the Reuters news agency that as many as 100 hostages in total could be released by the end of the month.

Hamas and other militant groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, captured more than 240 hostages when Islamist gunmen rampaged through southern Israeli towns on 7 October, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israeli soldiers stand near the opening to a tunnel at al Shifa hospital compound in Gaza City
Israeli troops stand near the opening to a tunnel at al Shifa hospital compound

In retaliation, Israel has been bombarding the enclave for weeks as it bids to “wipe out” Hamas. At least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes on Gaza, including at least 5,500 children, according to the Hamas-run government.

So far, Hamas has released four female hostages, and another, an Israeli soldier, was rescued by her fellow troops, while two women captives were found dead by the military near al Shifa hospital.

Israel cut off all fuel imports at the start of the war, causing a territory-wide power blackout.

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Just days before the truce, Israel said it was determined to expand its ground offensive into the south of Gaza, where much of the population is now located after hundreds of thousands fled their homes in the north.

Residents in Gaza City said the fighting intensified overnight into Wednesday, with gunfire, heavy artillery and airstrikes.

“Apparently they want to advance before the truce,” said Nasser al Sheikh, who is sheltering with relatives in the city.

Rockets were fired at Israel throughout the day by militants but no injuries were reported.

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Written by: radioroxi

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