A Gaza Truce and hostage release will start on Friday morning, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson said.

“The pause will begin at 7:00 am (05:00 GMT) on Friday… and the first batch of civilian hostages will be handed over at approximately 4:00 pm (14:00 GMT) on the same day,” Majed Al-Ansari said on Thursday.

Thirteen people would freed initially, all women and children from the same families, Ansari said.


When asked about the hostage release, Ansari said “There will be a period of time where the skies will be clear, and that would allow for the hostage release to happen in a safe environment”, explaining that there would be no drones from any country during the process.

Qatar Says Gaza Truce, Hostage Release To Start Friday
Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said a Gaza truce will start on Friday morning [Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency/Getty-archive]

Ansari said Palestinians would also be released on Friday but did not specify how many, explaining that a list of names had been approved.

Israel and Hamas, which have been at war since October 7, had announced a deal on Wednesday allowing at least 50 hostages and scores of Palestinian prisoners to be freed, during a four-day truce.

“Obviously, every day will include a number of civilians, as agreed to total 50 within the four days,” the Qatari spokesperson told a news conference.

“During these four days, information will be collected about the rest of the hostages to consider the possibility of more releases and thus extending the pause,” Ansari added.

Commenting on the pause, the spokesperson said it entailed “a complete ceasefire… with no attacks from the air or the ground,” adding that he hoped “there will be no violations”.

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Israeli tanks in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the fence, October 29, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

The deal, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, is to take effect in stages that can be extended and broadened. It is also intended to provide aid to Gaza’s 2.4 million residents.

“The agreement, it still… stands and as was agreed upon,” Ansari said.