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Business News/ News / World/  Hamas war: Israel to release hostages in exchange for ceasefire in Palestine
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Hamas war: Israel to release hostages in exchange for ceasefire in Palestine

Israel's government has agreed to exchange 50 women and children hostages held by Hamas in Gaza for a four-day pause in fighting.

Israel-Hamas war: Israel soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 21, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)Premium
Israel-Hamas war: Israel soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on November 21, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)

The Israel government concurred on November 22 to back a deal for Palestinian Hamas militants to release 50 women and children held as hostages in Gaza in exchange for a four-day pause in fighting, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as reported by Reuters.

Approximately 20 more hostages will be released by Hamas if the first phase goes according to plan, according to a report by CBS News.

Hamas was to prioritise releasing captive children, of whom around 40 are believed to be in Gaza. A 3-year-old girl is the only American child taken by Hamas, the report further added.

Officials from Qatar, which has been handling talks, as well as the US, Israel and Hamas have for days been saying a deal was possible.

A ceasefire will mark the first truce in a war that has flattened swathes of Hamas-ruled Gaza, killing 13,300 civilians and leaving two-thirds of its 2.3 million residents homeless, according to Gaza authorities.

On November 21, Netanyahu met with his war cabinet and wider national security cabinet before meeting with his full government. According to Israeli estimates, Hamas is holding more than 200 hostages taken during its October 7 incursion into Israel, which killed 1,200.

Netanyahu said US President Joe Biden's intervention had improved the tentative agreement to include more hostages and fewer concessions before the announcement. But, Netanyahu said Israel's broader mission had not changed.

"We are at war and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals. To destroy Hamas, return all our hostages and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel," he said in a recorded message at the start of the government meeting.

Before the deal was finalised, a US official briefed on the discussions said 150 Palestinian prisoners would be exchanged. Additionally, the pause would facilitate humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 22 Nov 2023, 07:36 AM IST
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