A four-day ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas, will take effect from 7am Friday with civilians held by Hamas set to be released from the Gaza Strip later same day, a spokesman for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said the four-day truce will begin at 05:00 GMT and 13 captives held by Hamas will be released at 4pm (14:00 GMT) with increased humanitarian aid entering Gaza “as soon as possible”.
“Every day will include a number of civilians as agreed to total 50 within the four days.”
Palestinians would be released from Israeli prisons as part of the deal, which also includes a cessation of hostilities across Gaza, the spokesperson stated.
Israel and Hamas, which have been at war since October 7, announced a deal on Wednesday allowing at least 50 captives in Gaza and scores of Palestinian prisoners to be freed during the truce.
The initial 13 captives scheduled to be released by Hamas are women and children, and al-Ansari said that while he could not disclose the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released on Friday, he said the deal was “reciprocal, so we’re expecting a release to happen also on the Israeli side”.
Al-Ansari also said the Red Cross was coordinating with all parties involved with the release of the captives held in Gaza.
“Our main objective here is the safety of the hostages,” he said.
The armed wing of Hamas confirmed in a statement on Telegram that the four-day truce would start at 7am.
During the truce, all military actions by Hamas’s Qassam Brigades and Israeli forces would cease, the statement added.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said Israel received an initial list of hostages to be released from Gaza.
“The relevant authorities are checking the details of the list and are presently in contact with all the families,” it said in a statement.
The announcement comes after almost seven weeks of devastating fighting after Hamas launched attacks on southern Israel on October 7, which killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials, and took more than 240 hostage.