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Israel and Hamas Come to an Agreement on Ceasefire and Hostage Release

The deal will see 50 hostages released during a 4-day ceasefire.

Israel’s Cabinet approved a Qatari-brokered cease-fire and hostage-release deal with the Hamas terrorist group early Wednesday morning, the Israeli government announced.

The deal will see at least 50 of the 240 hostages, exclusively women and children, released over four days, “during which there will be a lull in the fighting.” The Israeli government said that an additional “day of respite” will be added for every 10 hostages released.

“The Israeli government, the IDF, and the security forces will continue the war in order to return all the hostages, to complete the elimination of Hamas, and to ensure that Gaza does not renew any threat to the State of Israel,” the statement added.

Additionally, the deal stipulates that the four-day pause in fighting will allow for an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza.

There were an estimated 236 hostages taken by Hamas terrorists to Gaza after their deadly cross-border attack on Israelis on Oct. 7, which sparked the war. Nearly a dozen U.S. citizens were thought to be among the hostages.

The announcement came after media reports stated that Israel and Hamas were close to reaching an agreement to pause their conflict, which is currently in its sixth week, in exchange for the release of hostages.

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Qatar has served as a mediator in the negotiations between Hamas and Israel. Earlier, Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said the hostage release proposal was sent to Israel on Tuesday.

“The State of Qatar is awaiting the result of the Israeli government’s vote on the proposal,” Mr. Al-Ansari said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that the Israeli offensive against Hamas would start as soon as the truce ended. Prior to the announcement of the hostage release deal, he summoned his war cabinet to vote on the deal.

“We are at war and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals: to destroy Hamas, return all our hostages, and ensure that nobody in Gaza can threaten Israel,” he said during the cabinet meeting.

At least 1,200 civilians and soldiers were killed in Israel after Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7.

Since then, Israel has conducted a military campaign in Gaza. According to Gaza’s health ministry, which is run by Hamas, that campaign has killed more than 14,000 Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu has been pushing back against international calls for a ceasefire. In a recent televised address, he vowed that Israel would keep fighting with “full force” until all Hamas terrorists in Gaza are eliminated.

The Israeli leader also declared that after the war, Gaza will be demilitarized and Israel will retain security control, suggesting that Israeli forces will be able to freely enter Gaza to hunt down terrorists.

Israel has accused Hamas of using hospitals to conceal military command as well as using hospital patients as human shields. Both Hamas and the hospitals in Gaza have denied these allegations.

The White House confirmed last week that the terrorist group has a command node beneath Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, where weapons are stored, calling it “a war crime.”

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