Israel and Hamas agree to pause fighting for release of 50 hostages

Israel and Hamas have agreed a deal to release 50 hostages being held in Gaza during a four-day pause in fighting, the BBC reports.

The start of the pause will be announced in the next 24 hours. If successful, it will be the first break in fighting since 7 October.

On Wednesday morning, Israel confirmed its ground and air operation in Gaza is continuing, before the pause starts.

Hamas says 150 Palestinian women and teenagers will be released from Israeli jails under the deal.

The group adds that hundreds of lorries of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and fuel will be allowed into Gaza.

Israel’s government insists that this isn’t the end of the war, reiterating its commitment to “complete the elimination of Hamas.”

Israel began attacking Gaza after Hamas fighters crossed the border on 7 October, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 others hostage.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 14,000 people – including more than 5,000 children – have been killed in Israel’s campaign.

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