Gaza Ceasefire Holds Despite Israeli Troops Killing Two Palestinians
The ceasefire in effect in Gaza was marred when Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians, and wounded 11 others, as hundreds of displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza attempted to return to their homes in the north.
The ceasefire, mediated by Qatar, was supposed to pause the hostilities for four days after seven weeks of the conflict.
The encirclement and attacks on northern Gaza by Israeli forces, coupled with pressure for civilians to evacuate, have drawn criticism from UN rights experts. The experts argue that these actions amount to a forcible transfer, a violation of international law considered a crime against humanity.
The journey highlighted the desperation faced by many Palestinians, with insufficient clothing, food, and drinks.
The truce allows movement from the north to the south via Salah al-Din Road.
However, the Israeli military designated the northern Gaza Strip as a dangerous war zone. One Israeli military spokesman tweeted that the war is not over yet.
As part of the Qatar-mediated deal, 39 Palestinian women and children held captive by Israel were released on Friday. The released Palestinians are expected to go to various locations, including Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Qalqilya. However, the broader issue of over 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails remains a pressing concern, with administrative detention allowing imprisonment without formal charges.
39 Palestinian women and children were released by Israel after 13 Israelis, 10 Thais and one Filipino were set free by Hamas on Friday evening.
The four-day truce comes after Israel has killed over 14,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, while Israel reports around 1,200 casualties from attacks carried out by Palestinian fighters. Israel says it will resume its attacks on Gaza after four days.
Lebanon’s southern border, monitoring developments in Gaza, experiences a “precarious calm” as the truce takes effect, with no reported incidents within the six hours.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader based in Qatar, expressed his commitment to the truce and ‘hostage swap’ deal as long as Israel reciprocates. Hamas stated they had secured the release of about 150 Palestinian women and children being held by Israel.
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