A 4-day cease in fighting will allow for the release of some hostages and humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Qatar on Wednesday announced a truce-for-hostages deal between Israel and Hamas that would bring a four-day halt in fighting in a devastating six-week war, win freedom for dozens of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, and also lead to the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it would announce within a day when the clock will start ticking on the truce, during which 50 hostages will be released in stages in exchange for what Hamas said would be 150 Palestinians prisoners held by Israel. Those freed by both sides will be women and children.
Humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza would also increase.
The announcement came hours after Israel’s Cabinet approved the deal. It capped weeks of indirect Qatari-led negotiations between Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that has ruled Gaza for 16 years. The United States and Egypt were also involved in stop-and-go talks to free some of the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas and other militants in Gaza.
Hostage releases will begin roughly 24 hours after the deal is approved by all parties, said a senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office made no mention of the release of Palestinian prisoners or increased humanitarian aid when it confirmed the Cabinet had approved the deal.
“The government of Israel is committed to bringing all of the hostages home. Tonight, the government approved the outline for the first stage of achieving this goal,” the office said in a statement.
“We are at war, and we will continue the war,” he said. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”