A pause in Israeli aggression against Gazans is expected to begin this morning after a breakthrough agreement secured through Qatari, Egyptian, and American mediation was delayed. The head of Gaza City’s Al Shifa hospital, which has been at the center of severe military action, was arrested by Israeli forces. Qatar announced that the pause would begin on Friday at 7am GMT, with the first batch of 13 prisoners, all women and children from the same families, being handed over around nine hours later. Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails would also be released on Friday.

The agreement entailed a complete ceasefire with no attacks from the air or the ground and the skies cleared of drones to allow for the hostage release to happen in a safe environment. The Al Q assam Brigades confirmed the cessation of hostilities would start on Friday under the deal that is also intended to provide aid to Gaza’s 2.4 million residents struggling to survive with shortages of food, water, and fuel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was in contact with the families of the prisoners after receiving a first list of names. US President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Egypt, Israel, and Qatar, committing to remain in close contact to ensure the deal is fully implemented.

Thousands of civilians have been killed in Gaza, and by Thursday, the death toll in the Palestinian territory had reached 14,854. Israeli forces have accused the hospital director of being linked to the facility’s alleged use by Hamas.

By Malik

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