Israel and Hamas begin cease-fire, a four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas began on Friday. Allowing much-needed aid into Gaza and paving the way for the release of scores of hostages held by terrorists and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. There were no reports of fighting in the hours following the truce’s implementation.
Israel and Hamas Begin Cease-Fire
The agreement provided some respite to Gaza‘s 2.3 million residents, who have been subjected to weeks of Israeli shelling and decreasing supplies of basic commodities, as well as to Israeli families concerned about loved ones kidnapped during Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught, which began the conflict.
Nevertheless, the cease-fire raised expectations of eventually ending the fighting, which has devastated massive sections of Gaza, sparked a wave of violence in the occupied West Bank, and fueled worries of a wider Middle Eastern conflagration. Israel, on the other hand, has stated that it intends to begin its huge onslaught as soon as the cease-fire expires.
It brought calm to Gaza after weeks of continuous shelling and artillery fire, as well as street fighting as ground soldiers marched into northern neighbourhoods. The last report of air raid sirens in Israeli towns near the border occurred shortly after the cease-fire went into force.
Soon after, four tankers carrying fuel and four carrying cooking gas arrived in Gaza from Egypt, according to Israel. During the truce, Israel has agreed to allow the transfer of 130,000 litres (34,340 gallons) of fuel each day – still a modest percentage of Gaza’s estimated daily needs of more than 1 million litres.
For the most of the previous seven weeks, Israel has prohibited the entry of fuel into Gaza, arguing that it may be used for military purposes by Hamas – though it has periodically allowed tiny amounts in.
Gasoline deliveries were strictly regulated and urgently needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, according to UN relief agencies, because gasoline is essential to run generators that power water treatment facilities, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure.
The Israeli military flew leaflets over southern Gaza, advising hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians seeking sanctuary there not to return to their homes in the territory’s north, which has been the focus of Israel’s ground onslaught.
Despite Israel’s warning that such attempts would be thwarted, hundreds of Palestinians were seen going north on Friday. Israeli forces shot and killed two people and injured 11 others.
An Associated Press correspondent witnessed the two bodies and the injured arriving at a hospital. Sofian Abu Amer, who had fled Gaza City, said he decided to take a chance and travel north to check on his family.
“We don’t have sufficient clothes, food and drinks,” he added. “The situation is a disaster. It is preferable for a person to die.” During the cease-fire, Gaza’s dominant Hamas organisation promised to release at least 50 of the approximately 240 captives taken by it and other militants on Oct. 7.
According to Hamas, Israel will release 150 Palestinian inmates. Both parties agreed that women and children would be released first, beginning Friday afternoon. According to Israel, the agreement asks for the truce to be prolonged by one day for every ten hostages rescued.
Ambulances were seen arriving at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel early in the day, preparing for the release. According to Israeli officials, those who have been released will be transferred to hospitals for evaluation and treatment.
According to a Hamas official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the details with the media, the first detainees liberated will be Israeli citizens, including some with a second nationality.
The source declined to comment on media claims that Hamas has agreed to release non-Israelis, including 23 Thais. The foreign minister of Thailand told reporters in Bangkok that he had not been able to corroborate the reports.
The Israeli Justice Ministry announced a list of 300 convicts eligible for release, the majority of them were jailed in the previous year for rock-throwing and other minor offences.
For every hostage released, three Palestinian detainees are anticipated to be released. The aim is that the deal’s “momentum” will lead to a “end to this violence,” said Majed al-Ansari, a spokesman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, which served as a mediator alongside the US and Egypt.
However, only hours before it went into force, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant was described as assuring troops that their reprieve would be brief and that the fight would restart with vigour for at least two months.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also vowed to extend the assault in order to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities, end the group’s 16-year control in Gaza, and free all hostages.
On Friday, Israel’s northern border with Lebanon was likewise quiet, a day after the militant Hezbollah organisation, an ally of Hamas, carried out the most strikes in one day since combat began there on Oct. 8.
Hezbollah is not a signatory to the cease-fire agreement, but its strikes were largely expected to halt. The battle began when thousands of Hamas terrorists poured into southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people, largely civilians, and kidnapping hundreds of captives, including newborns, women, and elderly people, as well as soldiers.
In accordance to the Islamic Jihad militant group, which is apparently holding over 40 captives, the soldiers will only be released in exchange for all Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
It is unknown how many of the captives are currently serving in the military or whether the militants regard reserve soldiers as “military hostages.” Israel presently imprisons around 7,000 Palestinians on security grounds. According to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, the Israeli offensive has killed around 13,300 Palestinians.
The Health Ministry began its thorough tally of victims in Gaza after suspending for weeks due to the collapse of the health infrastructure in the north. According to the ministry, 6,000 people have gone missing and are believed to be buried under rubble.
In its death statistics, the ministry makes no distinction between civilians and terrorists. Women and minors have regularly accounted for roughly two-thirds of those killed, though the new figure was not broken down.
The chart does not include recent data from northern hospitals. Israel claims to have killed thousands of Hamas fighters without providing evidence.