Gazans return to north of Gaza on the first day of truce in the Israeli war on the Palestinian enclave
Israeli military vehicles, including tanks, withdrew from the tiny coastal enclave. Troops in the armored column have been cited by news agencies as saying they had received orders to pull out of the Palestinian territory.
In a video message, the official spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing, Abu Ubeida, touched on the “temporary truce”.
He called for an “escalation of the confrontation with the Zionist regime on all resistance fronts” later, including the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where settler violence has surged since the war on Gaza erupted almost seven weeks ago.
Hamas has said that under the four-day ceasefire, 200 aid trucks will enter Gaza each day, delivering “relief and medical supplies” to “all areas of the Gaza Strip”.
“The enemy’s military prisoners will not be released without the freedom of our prisoners, and this is linked to the end of the aggression,” says Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh.At the same time, Hamas said Israeli aerial surveillance will halt entirely in southern Gaza while pausing between 10:00 and 16:00 each day in the north.
The truce is expected to last four days to allow for the release of 50 Hamas-held hostages in exchange for 150 Israeli-held Palestinian prisoners.
The exchange of hostages was due to take place on Thursday but was postponed as last-minute logistical issues were worked out.
The first group of 13 Israeli hostages released by Hamas have crossed into Egypt after nearly seven weeks in captivity.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the occupied West Bank side of the illegal Beituniyah crossing for the return of Palestinian prisoners.
Hamas says for every Israeli hostage released, three Palestinians will finally seek their freedom.
Qatar’s foreign ministry has said 39 women and children who were detained in Israeli jails have been released, Reuters reported.
The Israeli regime has published a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners from which 150 will be freed and the rest subject to the four-day pause in fighting potentially being extended.
Among the Palestinian inmates the regime may release, 124 prisoners are aged 17 or under, with many of them under 15.
The youngest is a 14-year-old boy.
Most of them had been imprisoned by the occupation regime for throwing rocks at Israeli tanks and armored vehicles.
Among the female prisoners that Israel kidnapped at gunpoint and is considering for release are 33 Palestinian inmates.
The youngest is a 14-year-old girl.
According to mediators, there will be one extra day of ceasefire for every ten hostages Hamas releases, which would allow other Palestinians on the Israeli list to be freed.
Speaking at a news conference in Doha, a ministry spokesman said the first group of hostages will be handed over at 16:00. “The first batch of civilians to be released from Gaza will be around 4 pm of the same day. They will be 13 in number, all women, and children and those hostages of the same families will be put together in the same batch.”
For context; Hamas has, for weeks now, stated it wanted to release young and elderly civilian Israeli hostages on humanitarian grounds without a ceasefire, but the regime’s political leaders refused to entertain the idea, infuriating the Israeli public further.
It appears that Netanyahu had no intention of hostages being released as that would pave the way for the end of the war on Gaza and his potential imprisonment for the massive intelligence and military failure on October 7.
The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has said Israeli soldiers among the 240 hostages held in Gaza will only be released in exchange for all jailed Palestinians in the regime’s prisons.
“The enemy’s military prisoners will not be released without the freedom of our prisoners, and this is linked to the end of the aggression,” said Ziad Nakhaleh.
Separately, Hamas is reportedly set to release 23 Thai nationals it is holding in Gaza without any conditions, according to a report by the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.
The release of Thai hostages would not be connected to the deal reached by the regime and Hamas, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said.
The release of Thai hostages came after Iran-mediated talks, the outlet reported on Thursday.
The Egyptian government said 12 Thai nationals taken hostage by Hamas were due to be released under a deal mediated by Egypt. The Prime Minister of Thailand has confirmed their release.
Israeli war failure
After some seven weeks of relentless daily Israeli airstrikes and a ground offensive, Abu Ubeida said the resistance prevented the occupation forces from achieving a “swift victory”.
Regular footage of Hamas’ armed wing and other Palestinian resistance factions heroically fighting off the Israeli ground invasion in close combat appears to have worn out the regime’s military.
Widespread pressure by Israeli protesters against their war cabinet to free the hostages had not helped, but at the end of the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “wipe out” Hamas and has failed to do so.
Abu Ubeida also pointed out that “the enemy hides the true number of its casualties,” indicating many more have been killed and injured.
“We believe that the enemy’s casualties are yet to occur,” he added in reference to what experts believe is al-Qassam brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) maintaining its military strength and potentially escalating the next phase of the war?.
Al-Qassam brigades and other Palestinian resistance factions continued to launch missiles and rocket salvoes as well as ambushing Israeli ground forces inside Gaza until the last minute of the ceasefire.
The Israeli military continued to bomb and kill civilians until the last minute also.
Preventing Palestinians traveling north
News reports say Israeli forces are preventing residents from returning to their homes in the densely populated northern part of the enclave.
AP says Israeli troops fatally attacked two Palestinians trying to travel north and injured a dozen others.
The Israeli army has warned the residents of northern Gaza Strip, who were forcibly displaced from their homes, not to use the truce deal to return home.
The regime had encircled and attacked northern Gaza for weeks and pressured all civilians there to leave, which UN rights experts warn amounts to a forcible transfer, which is a crime against humanity.
leaflets dropped by Israeli aircraft addressed to the residents of northern Gaza read, “The ceasefire is temporary and the area north of the Gaza Strip is a dangerous war zone and traffic is prohibited in those areas.”
A UN monitoring team has also reported that more Palestinian people, including women, were detained by Israeli forces as they tried to move to southern Gaza on Thursday compared to previous days.
The Palestinian health ministry said al-Shifa hospital director Dr Muhammed Abu Salmiya was detained by Israeli troops, along with several other medical staff.
Hamas has described the arrest as “nothing less than despicable, lacking any sense of humanity and morals”.
The ministry said Dr Salmiya was taken by Israeli troops on Thursday while part of a UN evacuation convoy. The group was stopped at a checkpoint separating northern and southern Gaza and held there for seven hours, it added.
On the other hand, the Israeli military has showcased its achievements in the war on Gaza.
It has killed dozens, scores, and sometimes hundreds of civilians in single airstrikes on a daily basis.
From a military perspective, Israeli achievements in its war on Gaza have been disappointing, to say the least, as it has been unable to weaken the Palestinian resistance, instead pulling out of the territory exhausted after seven weeks.
A Palestinian official highlighted the Israeli military achievements in the regime’s seven-week war on Gaza.
Mustafa Barghouti said 9,000 children have been killed in the war so far.
“The tragedy is there are about 7,000 people missing under the rubble and half of them are probably Palestinian children,” he highlighted.
“Continuing this war is absolutely unacceptable and represents a terrible war crime because it means genocide,” Barghouti added.
At the current rate of Israeli military massacres against Palestinians in Gaza that could rise to 30,000, if not more, civilians being killed.
Qatari government spokesperson Majed al Ansari said, “We are getting reports of dogs eating corpses on the street, children without limbs, infants dying if they are forced out of their incubators.”
Hamas is defending its people from this kind of Israeli barbarism.
News outlets have reported a surge in support for Hamas despite weeks of intense daily bombardment in the Gaza Strip, not seen in modern history.
48 days after the brutal Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilian targets, Gaza resident Khaled Abu Anzah told Reuters, “We are full of hope, optimism, and pride in our resistance. We are proud of our achievements, despite the pain this caused.”