Monday June 17, 2024

Israel plans to resume offensive in Gaza after hostage release

Published : 23 Nov 2023, 02:41

  DF News Desk
People conduct rescue work among the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on Nov. 22, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Khaled Omar.

Israel announced on Wednesday that it will resume its offensive in the Gaza Strip immediately after the implementation of the newly clinched truce deal to release hostages, reported Xinhua.

"We are at war with Hamas, a war that was launched with the Oct. 7 Hamas' massacre and that will continue," said Eylon Levy, spokesperson for the Israeli government, during a press conference.

Levy said that the war will "immediately" resume after the full implementation of the truce deal and the release of the hostages planned under the agreement.

Israeli and Hamas officials were still working on Wednesday night to finalize the last details of a temporary truce deal.

The four-day truce is set to come into effect on Thursday, but as of Wednesday night, the exact hour for the commencement of the ceasefire has not been officially announced. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas senior official told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that the cease-fire in Gaza will begin Thursday at 10:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).

Additionally, specific details regarding the release of at least 50 children and women held by Hamas militants in Gaza, as well as at least 150 Palestinian women and teenage prisoners in Israeli custody, were not confirmed.

Head of Israel's National Security Council Tzachi Hanegbi confirmed in a statement that talks on the specific details of the deal were still ongoing. "The (hostage) release will begin according to the original agreement, and not before Friday," he said.

Chief of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad, David Barnea, traveled to Qatar, a country that does not have official ties with Israel, for talks on the details of the deal, according to a statement released by the Israeli government.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Israeli government voted to accept the Qatar-mediated deal with Hamas for hostage release and a temporary cease-fire.

During the truce, both Israel and Hamas will halt the fighting. The conflict has seen massive destruction in Gaza, including whole neighborhoods razed by Israeli strikes, and the killing of at least 14,532 people, mostly civilians, according to official Palestinian figures. According to Israeli figures, about 1,200 people were killed and about 240 others were held as hostages during the Hamas attacks on southern Israel that triggered the conflict.

Levy said that each day during the cease-fire, Israel and Hamas would exchange lists of hostages and prisoners to be released on the next day. The hostages would be transferred to the Red Cross and then to Israeli forces. Later, Palestinian prisoners would be released.

The first group of hostages will include 8-13 people, according to the Hebrew-language Ha'aretz newspaper. Levy said they would be taken first for a medical checkup.

For each additional 10 hostages that Hamas would release, Israel would offer an additional day of ceasefire, said Levy.

Israeli media reported that 200-300 truckloads of fuel and aid would enter Gaza daily. Levy said that during the truce, Israel would put no constraint on the entry of humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave, which Israel cut off from electricity, fuel, food, and water since the beginning of the conflict.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the deal in a statement, saying it was "an important step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to end the suffering."