Israel, Hamas begin ceasefire ahead of release of 13 hostages

Fighting in Gaza halted, as part of deal between Israel and Hamas for release of captives, jailed Arab terrorists.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel halted its counter-terror operations in the Gaza Strip Friday, observing a ceasefire that began at 7:00 a.m.

Shortly before the ceasefire went into effect, terrorists operating out of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets on Israeli towns near the Gaza frontier, while the IDF demolished a terror tunnel underneath the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The two sides are slated to refrain from fighting for at least four days, as 50 Israeli captives are freed and 150 jailed Arab terrorists released, starting at 4:00 p.m. Friday.

Thirteen Israeli captives are set to be freed in the first tranche Friday, with 12-13 additional captives freed each day thereafter during the four-day ceasefire.

Hamas may increase the total number of hostages released to as many as 80, in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire and the release of additional jailed terrorists.

During the ceasefire, Israel will permit expanded aid into the Gaza Strip, despite fears Hamas will seize the aid.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) confirmed Friday that eight trucks full of fuel – including four fuel tankers and four trucks carrying cooking gas – entered the Strip via Egypt at the Rafah crossing at the beginning of the ceasefire at 7:00 a.m.

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In addition to the 13 Israeli women and children slated for release Friday afternoon, Arab media outlets have reported that Hamas will free 23 Thai nationals who were abducted during the October 7th invasion.

The release of the Thai workers comes at the request of Iran, following negotiations between Tehran and Bangkok.

At the same time, 39 Arab terrorists will be released to eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.