War on Israel: Gaza ceasefire begins tomorrow at 10am
What do we know about the hostages?
The deputy head of Hamas' political office, Musa Abu Marzouk, announced that the ceasefire as part of the hostage release agreement will begin at 10am tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Israel expects to receive tomorrow, Thursday, the first hostages to be released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip under the Qatar-brokered deal, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told army radio.
In his interview today, the minister refused to confirm the information that the process will start at 05:00 am. (local time and Greek time).
What do we know about the hostages?
The Israeli government has approved a deal that provides for the release of 50 of the approximately 240 hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners and a four-day ceasefire.
Here's what we know about the hostages.
Who are the hostages?
Hamas gunmen launched a bloody attack on Israel on October 7, killing 1.200 people and taking about 240 hostages, according to the Israeli government.
Among the hostages are Israeli citizens, but also many people with foreign or dual citizenship from about 40 countries, including the US, Thailand, Britain, France, Argentina, Germany, Chile, Spain and Portugal, it has points out Israel.
As Israeli media have reported and the government has announced, up to 40 of the hostages are children, including a 10-month-old infant and preschoolers.
What has happened to the hostages?
Hamas has so far released four hostages: American citizens Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, on October 20, citing "humanitarian reasons," and Israelis Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yoseved Lifsic, 85 years old, on October 23rd.
Israeli forces have freed a hostage, Ori Meghidis, a soldier during their ground operation in Gaza on October 30.
The Israeli military announced earlier this month that it had found the bodies of two hostages in Gaza City, including that of 19-year-old soldier Noah Marciano.
The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, which participated in the October 7 attack by Hamas, announced late Tuesday the death of another Israeli hostage, but did not provide information on his identity.
Where are the hostages being held?
Hamas has said it is hiding the hostages "in secure locations and tunnels" in Gaza. Israel says the Palestinian organization has a vast underground network from which it runs its operations, while also using it to store weapons and move its fighters.
Lifsic said she was taken to underground tunnels, which she compared to a spider's web.
The Israeli military has indicated that it has found evidence that some of the hostages were held in or under hospitals.
In what conditions are they kept?
Lifsic pointed out that the hostages were separated into small groups. She added that she and a few others slept on mattresses on the floor of the tunnels. Doctors offered them care, while Hamas ensured good sanitary conditions.
Video released by the Palestinian movement in October showed a 21-year-old French hostage being treated by a doctor for an injury to her hand.
Hamas also released a video in October showing three female hostages denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He stated that they were used for "harsh propaganda".
How have the Israelis reacted?
Relatives of the hostages and thousands of their supporters are pressing the Israeli government to prioritize their release, fearing they will be killed in the airstrikes and ground operation Israel has launched in Gaza.
Saturday marked the end of a five-day march started by thousands of people from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with the aim of pressuring the Israeli government to act to free the hostages.