Qatar set up an operations room in Doha to monitor the truce and relay messages to the relevant parties.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Majed Al Ansari announced on Thursday that a four-day truce in Gaza was set to come into force on Friday at 7:00 am local time.
Speaking to the press at the Qatari Foreign Ministry’s building, Al Ansari confirmed that the major breakthrough came after extensive negotiations with the relevant parties and its international partners, at the top of which was Egypt.
“Extensive meetings and calls took place in Doha to discuss the implantation plan of the ceasefire with the participation of our Egyptian counterparts and both parties,” he told the press in Doha.
The deal involves the release of 50 hostages, including women and children, held by Hamas in Gaza in exchange for more than 100 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.
Al Ansari said that the final details of the deal were agreed upon shortly ahead of the announcement, with the Gulf state handing over the list of those expected to be released to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed receiving the list as the press conference was taking place.
The first batch of hostages, 13 women and children, will be released at 4:00 local time, Al Ansari said, noting that the list Qatar received is of those expected to be freed the first day of the truce.
The releases will take place in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Crescent.
Qatar set up an operations room in Doha to monitor the truce and relay messages to the relevant parties, providing real-time communications with Hamas, Israel and the ICRC.
“During the four days of the truce, information will be collected about the remaining hostages,” Al Ansari said, without providing further details on the Palestinian prisoners expected to be released.
The Qatari official said that the Gulf state expects “both parties to adhere to the terms of the agreement and we view that very positively”, hoping it would lead to a comprehensive ceasefire.
The temporary truce was initially announced on Wednesday morning by Qatar, which has been at the forefront of the negotiations since the beginning of the war on Gaza on October 7. The Gulf state has hosted the Hamas political bureau since 2012.
While the truce was initially scheduled to come into force on Thursday morning, Israel said that the release of hostages would not begin before Friday. The bombardment also continued the following day after the truce’s announcement.
In October, Qatar mediated the release of four captives before the negotiations stalled under the non-stop Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Apart from the hostages and prisoners’ exchange, the deal stipulated the entry of additional aid trucks into Gaza, including ones carrying fuel for key infrastructures in the besieged enclave.
The temporary truce would offer Palestinians in Gaza four days of calm for the first time since the start of the war. Within the past seven weeks, the Israeli occupation forces killed more than 14,500 Palestinians, including more than 6,000 children.