Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza takes effect 

After more than six weeks of bloody conflict, a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza went into effect on Friday, with Hamas set to release about 13 hostages at 4 p.m. local time as the first stage of the deal.

Hamas, which has been governing Gaza since 2007, will hand over the hostages to Egypt. In turn, Israel will release 150 Palestinians, including women and children, from Israeli jails.

Israel is expected to stop all its military operations in the Gaza Strip as part of the four-day ceasefire. Meanwhile, at least 200 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and medical supplies, including four fuel trucks, will be allowed into the Gaza Strip, Hamas explained.

The ceasefire will also facilitate the reopening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to allow the return of stranded Palestinians waiting in the Arish area, according to the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed receiving an “initial list of names” of detainees set for release.

The Israeli army said it was ready to implement the ceasefire but warned Hamas that “even the slightest violation would result in a severe response.”

Additional aid would start flowing into Gaza, and the first hostages, including elderly women, would be freed at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), with the total number rising to 50 over the four days, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said in Doha, according to Reuters. 

Egypt said 130,000 liters of diesel and four trucks of gas will be delivered daily to Gaza when the truce starts and that 200 trucks of aid will enter Gaza daily.

The ceasefire was originally due to start on Thursday but was delayed as the two sides were finalizing the details of hostage release. Meanwhile, Israel continued its airstrikes on various areas of Gaza, resulting in more casualties and injuries.

(With input from agencies)

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