The Times of Israel reports a source familiar with the developing hostage deal has noted Hamas will release at least 50 Israeli hostages, mainly women and children, in exchange for a ceasefire of four days, the release of between 150 and 300 Palestinian prisoners, and the entry of fuel and other goods into Gaza.
The source says no Palestinian prisoners convicted of murder will be released in the agreement. Additionally, immediately following the phases of the hostage releases, Israel will continue its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
As the ceasefire takes effect, 12-13 hostages will be released per day , the source says, adding that Israel will release women and minor prisoners, with each returning to the city or town where they lived prior to imprisonment, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel will receive a list of the names of those to be released by Hamas a day before their release. As for the Palestinian prisoners, the public will have 24 hours by law to petition against any of these planned prisoner releases. According to the source, Israel’s security establishment is in favor of the imminent agreement.
As part of the deal, the source says fuel that will enter Gaza will only be brought in during the ceasefire. The Times reports, “There will be six hours a day when the IDF will not use drones to gather intelligence on activity in the Strip; however, the IDF and Shin Bet will maintain the ability to continue gathering intelligence even during the pause in fighting, the source says.”
The deal will also include a second stage to the agreement by which Hamas will act to locate women and children held by other terror factions in Gaza ahead of their possible release. The source says Israel believes Hamas may prove able to locate and release up to 30 further Israeli women and children.
The halt in the fighting could be extended for additional days in exchange for 10 further releases per extra day, the source says. It is expected that the deal will be approved by the full cabinet tonight in Israel, after which Israel will subsequently publish the details of Palestinian prisoners to be freed, the source says.
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Hamas Claims Responsibility for Deadly Attack in West Jerusalem
In a tragic incident on Thursday, two gunmen opened fire at a bus stop in West Jerusalem, resulting in the deaths of three Israelis and injuries to 16 others. Hamas, the militant group against which Israel declared war after a previous deadly terror attack, has claimed responsibility for this latest act of violence.
The motive behind the attack, according to Hamas, is in response to what they consider Israeli “crimes” committed in Gaza, as reported by the BBC. This assault occurred amid an existing ceasefire between the two sides, adding complexity to the situation.
Off-duty soldiers and a civilian at the scene took swift action, successfully neutralizing the gunmen. Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman informed reporters that the assailants approached the bus stop in a car and were armed with two weapons. Subsequent investigations revealed a significant amount of ammunition in the gunmen’s vehicle.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a meeting with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, condemned the attack, emphasizing that it serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat of terrorism faced by Israel and its people daily.
The incident underscores the volatile nature of the conflict and the challenges in maintaining stability, even during periods of ceasefire. As investigations continue, the international community closely watches developments in the region, hoping for a path toward lasting peace and security for all involved.
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