Israel and Hamas begin 4-day pause in fighting
A tentative four-day truce between Israel and Hamas appears to have taken hold, setting the ground for the staggered release of 50 hostages held by Hamas and 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
The Qatari-brokered pause appeared to have begun at 7am on Friday. If it holds, the two sides will begin exchanging hostages, and humanitarian assistance — including much-needed fuel — will be allowed into the besieged enclave.
While neither side has officially announced the four-day lull to be in place, the Israel Defense Forces dropped leaflets into Gaza warning Palestinians to remain south of the Israeli-ordered evacuation line. “The war has not ended. The humanitarian pause is temporary,” the flyers read.
The swap could result in the return to their families of as many as 50 civilians captured from Israel during Hamas’s October 7 cross-border attack. But it could collapse over various obstacles, including if a smaller militant group, the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, fails to abide by the agreement between its Gazan rival and Israeli foe.
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