The Israel-Hamas truce, agreed to as part of a deal to release hostages, was scheduled to begin at 10am local time (3am ET) Thursday morning, according to multiple reports citing sources.
Israel agreed Tuesday night to a Qatar-brokered deal for Hamas to release 50 hostages, all women and children, in exchange for a four-day pause in fighting and for Israel to release 150 Palestinians that it’s holding prisoner.
According to Hamas, hundreds of humanitarian, medical and fuel supplies would enter Gaza during the pause, while Israel would halt all air sorties over southern Gaza and maintain a daily six-hour daytime no-fly window in the north.
The 50 hostages to be released are just a fraction of the 240 that Israel says Hamas took captive during the terrorist organization’s massive October 7 surprise attack on Israel that sparked the war between the two sides in Gaza.
Early in the conflict, Hamas threatened to execute a hostage every time an Israeli airstrike hits Gazans in their homes.
After their safe passage, the released hostages would receive medical attention in Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday ahead of Israel’s officially agreeing to the deal. The U.S. State Department will provide consular assistance as well.
Last month in two separate instances, Hamas released two elderly Israeli women being held hostage, and before that an American mother and daughter were released for health reasons.