At 7 am on Friday morning in Israel, the four-day ceasefire, brokered by Qatar between Israel and Hamas, came into effect.
In the hours leading up to this temporary truce, rocket sirens blared in Israeli towns along the Gaza border, and there were reports of intense IDF shelling in Gaza as the military aimed to advance its mission against Hamas in the final moments before the pause.
At 4 p.m., 13 hostages held in Gaza will be released, followed by an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, as per Qatari mediators.
The IDF has completed its preparations to receive the initial group of 13 hostages who are scheduled to be released today.
After their release from Gaza, facilitated through Egypt, the hostages will be transported by the IDF to Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel for an initial reception. At this location, they will undergo a brief physical and mental examination.
To support the released hostages, many of whom are expected to be children, the military has arranged for psychologists and mental health experts to be present. These experts will explain to them what transpired in their community on October 7, whenever they feel ready to discuss it.
During the upcoming four days, a minimum of 50 women and children are scheduled to regain their freedom, leaving approximately 190 still in the custody of Palestinian militants.
In the same timeframe, around 150 Palestinian prisoners, primarily women and minors, some convicted of attempted murder, are anticipated to be released.
The agreement encourages further hostage releases, with Israel agreeing to extend the ceasefire by an extra day for every ten additional hostages released by Hamas.
Moreover, the agreement facilitates the delivery of fuel and humanitarian aid to Gaza during this ceasefire. This marks the first cessation of hostilities since Hamas initiated the war nearly seven weeks ago when its terrorists carried out a rampage through southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and the taking of 240 hostages.
During the operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant will be in the operations room, in Kirya in Tel Aviv.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense will closely monitor the operation of the operation to bring the Israelis freed from Hamas captivity to Israel.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Rabbi Tzachi Hanegbi and his military secretary Colonel Avi Gil. The Minister of Defense will be accompanied by his military secretary Lieutenant Colonel Guy Markizano and Chief of Staff Shahar Katz.
At 9:30 AM ET, All 13 Israeli hostages are now with Red Cross in Egypt, Israel Prime Minister’s office says.
VIDEO: Terrorists released from prison in preparation for the trade