[Live] Israel and Hamas reached an agreement for a truce in exchange for the release of hostages

After five weeks of difficult negotiations, the Israeli government on Wednesday approved an agreement to release 22 hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and a four-day truce in the Gaza Strip.

Protesters again demanded the release of some 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Tel Aviv. AP - Ariel Schalit

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Key takeaways:

■ The Israeli government approved an agreement on Tuesday night to release 50 hostages – women and children – from Hamas in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and a four-day truce in the Gaza Strip, according to an official statement. "The Israeli government, the Israeli army and the security forces will continue the war to bring back all those abducted, eliminate Hamas and ensure that there is no further threat to the State of Israel from Gaza," the statement added.

The European Union (EU) has given the green light to continue its development aid to the Palestinians.

108 members of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, were killed in Gaza. Three doctors were also killed in a strike on Al-Awda hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, MSF said.

■ The death toll from Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip has risen to 14,128since the war began on October 7, including 5,840 children, according to the Hamas Health Ministry, which rules the Palestinian enclave. Since then, more than 1,200 Israelis have been killed. The Israeli army reports that 239 people are being held hostage by the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Timetable given in Universal Time (Paris+1),

06:00: What is included in the agreement for a truce and the release of hostages

After an interminable wait, some of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas will be able to return home, reports our correspondent in Jerusalem, Sami Boukhelifa. An agreement was approved by the Israeli government late Tuesday night. "The government has approved the outline of the first stage of an agreement under which at least 50 abductees – women and children – will be released for four days during which there will be a lull in the fighting," according to an official statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. The statement also said Israel would "continue its war" against Hamas after the truce "to bring back all those abducted, eliminate Hamas and ensure that there is no longer any threat to the State of Israel from Gaza." The Israeli army will maintain its positions during the ceasefire.

After a meeting of the war cabinet and the security cabinet, the Israeli government met in the late evening. At the Israeli government meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the outline of the agreement included Red Cross visits to the unreleased hostages, as well as the provision of medicine, the Haaretz newspaper reported. Thirty children, eight mothers and twelve other women would be freed as part of the hostage deal. Among them are three U.S. nationals, including a three-year-old child, a senior White House official said Tuesday. Six hospitals in Israel are ready to receive the hostages. In total, about 240 people were kidnapped in the bloody attack launched by Hamas, the Islamist movement ruling the Gaza Strip, on Israel on October 7.

In exchange, a four-day truce in Gaza and 150 detained Palestinians, women and children, in Israel are expected to be released, according to sources close to the talks. This is a relief for the Palestinian population as more than 2 million people have been trapped in the Palestinian enclave and crushed by the Israeli war machine for nearly 50 days.

Read alsoIsrael-Hamas war: an agreement on the release of hostages approved by the Israeli government

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