The four-day ceasefire in the Israel–Hamas conflict went into effect at 7 a.m. local time, at which time Israel warned Gazans to avoid the enclave’s north and Egypt announced that truckloads of aid would flow into the Strip.
The release of 50 Israeli hostages under the ceasefire deal is highly anticipated. Qatari officials said the first group of 13 hostages, all women and children, will take place at 4 p.m. local time.
The families of the hostages have been informed about their anticipated release during the ceasefire, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
The remaining 37 hostages will be released over the course of the four-day truce. Hamas terrorists captured 240 Israeli hostages during their Oct. 7 surprise attack that killed 1,200 people, according to Israel.
The ceasefire, the first major pause in the conflict, was agreed upon after hours of deliberation between Israel and the Hamas terror group, brokered by Qatar and Egypt.
Trucks Will Carry Aid Via Egypt
On Friday, an Egyptian official said that hundreds of trucks will carry diesel, gas, medicine, food, and water into Gaza daily from Egypt now that the truce has come into force.
This daily humanitarian aid effort will include 130,000 liters of diesel and four trucks of gas.
“Two hundred trucks, loaded with food, medicine, and water, will enter daily for the first time since the start of the Israeli war on the strip,” said Diaa Rashwan, the chairman of Egypt’s State Information Service, in a statement on Friday.
Wounded Gazans will also continue to be treated in Egypt, while foreigners and those with dual citizenship who are detained in Gaza will be helped to travel to the countries “of which they are nationals.”
Mr. Rashwan also said that for the first time since the start of the conflict, Egypt would allow Palestinians to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later announced that Egypt facilitated the transfer of four tankers of fuel and four tankers of cooking gas “for operating essential humanitarian infrastructure” to U.N. humanitarian aid organizations in southern Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
“This was approved by the Israeli government as part of the pause and the framework for the release of the hostages, as agreed with the US and mediated by Qatar and Egypt,” the IDF stated on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In preparation for the ceasefire, the Israeli military said troops “destroyed a route of underground terrorist tunnels and tunnel shafts in the area of the Shifa Hospital” early on Friday morning.
This was done along with various strikes from land, air, and sea, “according to the defensive positions of the pause,” the military said.
Avoid North Gaza: Israeli Military
Shortly before the four-day ceasefire went into effect, Israel’s military warned Gazans to avoid the “dangerous war zone” in the enclave’s north.
“To the residents of Gaza: The war is not over yet,” said Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s spokesman for Arab media, in a video posted on X shortly before the clock ticked over into the beginning of the agreed ceasefire period.
“The humanitarian pause is temporary, and the northern Gaza area is a dangerous war zone, and it is forbidden to be there,” he continued.
Mr. Adraee urged Gazan civilians in the north to move south via the Salah al-Din road and those in the south not to head north. His message warned Gazans that the fate of themselves and their families is in their hands.
“Consider yourselves warned,” he added.
Mr. Netanyahu’s office, in its Thursday statement, would not reveal the names of the hostages due to be released.
Hostage, Prisoner Exchange
Qatari officials helped broker the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas. On Thursday, Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Majed bin Mohammed Al Ansari said the 50 hostages will be released over four days.
Israel agreed to extend its ceasefire by one extra day for every 10 additional hostages released.
In exchange for the return of hostages, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners currently in custody, who are also women and minors. This exchange will take place in a similar time frame, according to Qatar.
Israel has refused to release Palestinians convicted of murder, but its list of 300 prisoners, written in Hebrew, includes those convicted of attempted murder.
The other offenses of those to be released include terrorist activity, damaging property, harming security, throwing rocks, throwing bombs, arson, and possession of firearms or explosives.
Israel says the list of Palestinian prisoners includes people from groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The Red Cross and Palestine Red Crescent Society will play a key role in the hostage release process, Qatar said.
During the four days, data will be collected regarding the remaining hostages, the possibility of releasing more hostages will be considered, and officials will work on extending the pause, according to Qatar.
From The Epoch Times