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What we know about the Israel-Hamas Gaza hostage deal

What we know about the Israel-Hamas Gaza hostage deal


Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement to exchange 50 hostages held in Gaza for a four-day pause in fighting.

The deal should also release 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and a significant increase in humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza.

Mediator Qatar has said the break will begin at 07:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Friday and the first group of 13 hostages was released at 16:00.

The US president has said the deal will end the "unspeakable ordeal" of the hostages and "alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian families".

The Israeli government has vowed to end its fight to eliminate Hamas and return the rest of the more than 200 hostages that Hamas gunmen seized during a cross-border attack in southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people.

Hamas - which Israel, the US and other Western powers classify as a terrorist organization - has said the deal will give Palestinians time to recover from an intense Israeli air and ground attack that its government in Gaza said to have killed more than 14,500 people.

Which hostages will be released?

Their names have not been released, but we know they will all be women and children.

After Israel's coalition government signed the deal early Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement that "at least 50 hostages - women and children - will be released over the course of four days, during which a pause in the fighting will be maintained ".

He also offered Hamas an incentive to release more, saying: "Releasing every 10 additional hostages will result in an additional day in pause."

The clause is important to the families of the hostages, some of whom have previously told the BBC they did not want to see a partial deal.

The 50 hostages, expected to be released in four batches, will be Israeli citizens or dual citizens and not foreigners.

A senior US official said on Wednesday that at least three US citizens - including three-year-old Avigail Idan, a dual Israeli citizen whose parents were killed at Kibbutz Kfar Aza - would be among the 50 hostages.

What will happen in Gaza during the pause?

A longer Hamas statement released Wednesday morning gave more details on what was expected to halt Israeli military action for the duration of what it called a "hudna," or temporary ceasefire.

He said all Israeli drone and aircraft activity was expected to stop for four days in southern Gaza.

But in the north - which has been the main target of Israeli operations to dismantle Hamas - the same will only be held from 10:00 to 16:00 local time (08:00-14:00 GMT) each day. .

Israeli troops and tanks are expected to remain in their positions inside Gaza during the four-day pause, but a Hamas statement said Israeli forces would not attack or arrest anyone. BBC


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