Gaza ceasefire: Israel's cabinet agrees to four-day pause in conflict to allow release of 50 hostages

Israel's Cabinet approved the temporary break in conflict on Wednesday November 22 to allow for the release of around 50 hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel
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A temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is on the cards after Israel's Cabinet approved a four-day pause in conflict with Hamas.

The two camps have been fighting bitterly since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, with a ceasefire looking unlikely over the past six weeks. However, Israel's Cabinet has now approved a short ceasefire that will see around 50 of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.

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The Israeli government said that the deal which has been met will see women and children released first. The Cabinet has also agreed to extend the ceasefire by one day on a rolling basis for every 10 hostages released by Hamas.

The temporary pause in the conflict was confirmed via a statement from Qatar, which mediates with Hamas. The statement said that the deal includes “the release of a number of Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, the number of those released will be increased in later stages of implementing the agreement." It added that the deal will allow for more humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that during the pause in the conflict, the IDF will continue its offensive campaign against Hamas after the agreement ends. He added that during the ceasefire, intelligence efforts will be made to prepare for the next phase of the conflict to allow Israel to reach its aims of destroying Hamas' military capabilities and see all hostages returned. He told his Cabinet: “We are at war, and we will continue the war. We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”

US President Joe Biden has welcomed the move. In a statement he said: “I am extraordinarily gratified that some of these brave souls, who have endured weeks of captivity and an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented. I will not stop until they are all released. Today’s deal is a testament to the tireless diplomacy and determination of many dedicated individuals across the United States Government to bring Americans home."

A date is believed to have been agreed yet for the pause. Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said on Tuesday evening that an agreement on the date could be reached "in the coming hours".

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