Gaza ceasefire to begin early on Friday alongside release of 13 hostages, says Qatar

The first group of hostages will be released around 4pm while the ceasefire will begin at 7am


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A temporary ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas will begin at 7am on Friday, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry has said.

The ministry also said 13 women and children hostages held by Hamas terrorists will be released at 4pm on Friday.

Dr Majed Al Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar's foreign ministry, said Qatar had received a list of the civilians to be freed and families would be given priority.

The deal was agreed following talks mediated by the Gulf state alongside the US and Egypt.

As part of the agreement, Hamas will allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the remaining hostages in Gaza and provide medical assistance to those who need it.

Dr Al Ansari also said humanitarian aid would start flowing into Gaza as soon as the truce begins, adding it was "a fraction" of what it needs.

The first hostages were initially expected to be released as early as 10 am on Thursday, with Hamas reportedly having agreed to release 12 to 13 hostages each day of the four-day truce. The release of every additional 10 hostages will result in one additional day in the pause.

However, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi later announced that no hostages would be released before Friday.

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