Israel and Hamas agreed to free scores of captives in Gaza in exchange for a four-day cease-fire and the release of Palestinian inmates.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the war will continue until Hamas is eliminated as an organization, this will be the first significant pause in hostilities since the conflict began just over six weeks ago when Hamas launched an attack on Israel.

During the four days, Hamas announced there would be a “cessation of all military operations” in Gaza. It also indicated that Israel would halt all bombings in the Mediterranean enclave’s south and all ground forces in the north for six hours a day. More aid is also anticipated to arrive in Gaza via Egypt, as Palestinian leaders and the UN say it is required to alleviate a humanitarian calamity.

The suspension, pressed for by the US and its allies, is set to begin early Thursday morning after Israel has announced a list of Palestinians to be released from prison and the public has been allowed to file an appeal in court against their release.

Hamas, which has been branded a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, will initially release 50 women and children detained in Gaza. The Iran-backed group said that 150 Palestinian women and children under the age of 19 will be released from Israeli jails, which Israel has yet to confirm. Three Americans, according to US authorities, would be among the hostages leaving Gaza.

A second stage could see the cease-fire prolonged by one day for every ten additional hostages released, according to Netanyahu’s office.

On October 7, Hamas launched an attack from Gaza on southern Israeli villages, killing around 1,200 people and kidnapping 240. In response, Israel bombarded Gaza and started a ground offensive, which the territory’s Hamas-run government claims killed nearly 13,000 people.

Qatar, which hosts some of Hamas’ top leaders, as well as the United States and Egypt, mediated the discussions. The US would try to ensure the agreement is “carried through in its entirety,” US President Joe Biden said, emphasizing its complexities and the prospect of failure.

The revelations come as international pressure mounts on Israel to cease its offensive in Gaza, which has been largely damaged by bombings. Thousands of individuals are reported missing or trapped under the rubble, according to the Hamas government’s media office.

Qatar expressed hope that the “humanitarian pause” will help bring the war to an end and lead to a “comprehensive and just peace process.”

Despite the progress, Netanyahu reiterated the government’s stance at the opening of a cabinet meeting late Tuesday night.

“There is nonsense out there as if after the pause in fighting, we will stop the war,” he told reporters. “We are at war, and we will fight until we achieve all of our goals.” We will destroy Hamas, and return all hostages.

- Published By Team Nation Press News

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