Israel approves Gaza hostage release deal

The Israeli government approved the deal early Wednesday morning (local time) that provides for the release of 50 hostages held by Hamas in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and a truce in the Gaza Strip, according to a statement official

“The government approved the outline of the first stage of an agreement under which at least 50 abductees, women and children, will be released for four days during which there will be a lull in the fighting,” according to a press release of the government sent to AFP.

Some 240 people were kidnapped during the bloody attack on Israel launched by the Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip on October 7.

“We are getting closer to concluding a truce agreement,” Ismaïl Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, who lives in exile in Qatar, said earlier.

According to sources close to the talks, the agreement foresees, in this first renewable phase, the release of 50 hostages, in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

At the end of this phase, Israel remains focused on its goal of “eliminating” Hamas and promoting the release of other hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist movement, the government said.

“The Israeli government, Israeli military and security forces will continue the war to return all abductees, eliminate Hamas and ensure that there are no further threats to the state of Israel from Gaza,” he said in a statement in Hebrew sent to AFP.

Hamas, for its part, has celebrated the “humanitarian truce” agreement approved by Israel.

“The provisions of this agreement were formulated in accordance with the vision of resistance and determination that aims to serve our people and strengthen their tenacity in the face of aggression,” Hamas said in a statement. “We confirm that our hands will remain on the trigger and that our victorious battalions will be on the lookout,” he warned, however.

More details will follow.

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