Israel and Hamas initiated a four-day ceasefire, marking the first break in the nearly seven-week-long conflict, as reported by Reuters.
The truce began at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), encompassing a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza. It was to be followed by the release of Israeli women and child hostages taken by Hamas during an attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were also to be freed in exchange.
The hours leading up to the truce saw ongoing fighting, including the bombing of a hospital in Gaza City. Both sides indicated that the ceasefire would be temporary.
The Indonesian hospital in Gaza was severely affected by continuous bombing, operating without electricity and housing elderly individuals and weak children. Gaza health officials reported casualties.
Additional aid was set to enter Gaza, and the first hostages, including elderly women, were to be released at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), with the total number reaching 50 over the four days, according to Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari.
Egypt pledged to deliver 130,000 litres of diesel and four trucks of gas daily to Gaza during the ceasefire, with 200 trucks of aid entering daily.
Palestinians were expected to be released from Israeli jails, with hopes that the ceasefire might pave the way for broader efforts to achieve a permanent truce.
While Hamas confirmed a cessation of hostilities, its armed wing spokesperson, Abu Ubaida, referred to the ceasefire as temporary and called for an escalation of confrontation on various fronts, including the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israel’s military stated its troops would remain behind a ceasefire line within Gaza, with preparations for future stages of the conflict.