Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day truce that would see the Palestinian group release dozens of hostages taken on October 7, both sides announced Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved the accord after a near-all-night meeting, in which he told reticent ministers this was a “difficult decision but it’s a right decision.”
A government spokesman told AFP that under the agreement at least 50 Israeli and foreign hostages would be released — women and children — in return for a four-day “lull” in military operations.
For every 10 additional hostages released, there would be an extra day of truce.
Hamas released a statement welcoming the “humanitarian truce”, which it said would also see 150 Palestinians released from Israeli jails.
The truce offers Gaza residents the prospect of a desperately desired, if brief, pause after nearly seven weeks of total war.
Sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian group, had earlier told AFP the truce would include a complete ceasefire on the ground and a pause in Israeli air operations over southern Gaza.
The Israeli cabinet’s approval was one of the last stumbling blocks to the agreement coming into effect.
Qatar had helped to broker the talks.
Ahead of the vote, Netanyahu had faced a revolt from within his right-wing coalition, some of whom believe the agreement would give too much to Hamas operatives responsible for the worst attack in Israel’s history.
Hardline Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir indicated he would vote against the agreement, saying it should include the release of Israeli soldiers.
Hamas raids on October 7 killed an estimated 1,200 people and seized 240 hostages, civilians and military, who are believed to be held in Gaza.
With inputs from NDTV