Sigh of relief for Gazans as Hamas-Israel truce takes place


GAZA – The four-day truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect today (Friday), marking the first pause in Israel’s massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip following October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.

The holdup came after weeks of talks involving Israel, Palestinian fighting group, Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

The four-day break in fighting to be accompanied by release of 150 Palestinian prisoners and 50 Israeli hostages. 

It also offers an opportunity for aid to filter into the war-ravaged enclave where nearly 15,000 people have been killed in the Israeli bombing, including more than 6,000 children.

Trucks with relief supplies continued to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt on Friday after the entry into force of a four-day pause in fighting, UN humanitarians said.

UN humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that the hope regarding the agreement between Israel and Hamas announced earlier this week is “that the pause is respected, that it enables us to reach the people who need us and that it will be extended into an actual humanitarian ceasefire in the long run”.

“We hope the agreement… will bring respite to the people of Gaza and Israel and some relief to the hostages and detainees who will be released, and to their families,” Mr. Laerke said.

Over 1.7 million people in Gaza are estimated to be internally displaced and about one million of them are staying in more than 150 UNRWA shelters across the Strip. 

Hamas and other Palestinian gunmen seized around 240 hostages during unprecedented raids into southern Israel on October 7 which killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

The attack prompted a relentless Israeli campaign of bombing and a ground offensive in Hamas-run Gaza.

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