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Israel-Hamas truce begins with a swap of hostages and prisoners

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
26 November 2023 | 14:28 CAT

A released Palestinian prisoner kisses a loved one as she leaves the Israeli military prison, Ofer [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

A four-day ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war began Friday in Gaza as part of an agreement that Qatar helped broker. Twenty-four hostages were freed, including 13 Israeli citizens, 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen, Qatar said. Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners later in the day.

With the truce deal comes increased shipments of fuel and supplies into Gaza — though aid groups say that’s still only enough to dent the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment. Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 litres (34,300 gallons) of fuel a day into besieged Gaza for humanitarian needs for the duration of the truce.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, after a dayslong pause in its casualty report, which is attributed to the health system’s collapse in northern Gaza, making it impossible to provide a detailed count.

The head of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, Professor Jeff Halper, said The humanitarian pause is tactical and not a truce.

“Israel did not use the word truce and certainly wouldn’t use the word ceasefire. It is a tactical pause in order to get back some of the hostages,” Halper said.

Under the terms of the deal brokered by Qatar, the US and Egypt, at least 50 Israeli civilians seized by Hamas during its October 7 attack on southern Israel are to be released in staggered groups in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners and an increase in humanitarian aid to the strip.

Both sides are supposed to meet daily commitments to maintain the durability of the deal.

This week, Netanyahu said the deal constituted a pause rather than an end to the war.

“We are at war, and we will continue the war,” he said. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round-Up with Annisa Essack.


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