A four-day ceasefire is set to commence on Friday morning between Israel and Hamas, as announced by Qatar on Thursday. Civilian hostages and Palestinian prisoners are expected to be released later in the afternoon.
According to Majed Al-Ansari, a spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry, the ceasefire will start at 7 am local time, with 13 women and children captives scheduled for release at 4 pm.
Al-Ansari mentioned that the list of captives to be freed has been sent to the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad. Once Mossad confirms the list of Palestinian inmates to be released, the process of freeing the prisoners will begin.
The prisoners will be transferred from two jails, Damon and Megiddo, southeast of Haifa, to the Ofer prison, south of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, for final Red Cross examinations.
Earlier reports suggested a different timeline, with a truce starting at 10 am local time on Thursday and the release of at least 50 women and children among the more than 230 people held prisoner in Gaza. However, these preparations were postponed just hours before the intended ceasefire.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari emphasized that nothing is finalized until it actually happens, and changes might occur during the process. Hagari stated that the Israeli army continues to engage in the Gaza Strip at the moment, and once the ceasefire takes effect, IDF soldiers will be stationed along the established truce lines within the territory.
The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas, where approximately 2,500 individuals breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in casualties and the seizure of hostages.
Hamas terrorists took about 240 hostages during the assault, which led to the deaths of around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, who were killed at their homes and a music festival amid brutal atrocities, as reported by The Times of Israel. The hostages included individuals of all ages, including young children and the elderly, as well as Thai and Nepali nationals.