Greece welcomes humanitarian ceasefire for hostage release and aid into Gaza

Gaza Palestine Palestinian flag humanitarian ceasefire

Greece welcomed the agreement for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

"I would like to welcome today's agreement on a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the release of 50 hostages who were kidnapped after the terrorist attack of October 7," Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Greek government had promptly suggested and urgently raised the need for a humanitarian pause and the creation of viable humanitarian corridors. In this direction, we had taken all the necessary actions," he noted.

"There should now be, in implementation of the agreement, an immediate and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid and the provision of medical care to those who need it, as well as intensifying the effort for definitive peace in the region," he concluded.

IDF: army waiting for final timing details of what it calls 'operational pause'

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces emphasised on Wednesday lunchtime that the military would be implementing an “operational pause” rather than a ceasefire and that forces were still waiting on final details of the agreement.

Lt Col Richard Hecht, the IDF’s international spokesperson, told a briefing that “our terminology is not ceasefire, our terminology is an operational pause”, so hinting that Israeli bombing could restart whenever the hostage exchange is completed.

Hecht said he was not able to confirm when fighting would stop or how a ceasefire would operate because orders have not been received from the country’s political leaders. “We still haven’t got the nitty gritty of this framework,” he added.

But Hecht did suggest the ceasefire might not begin in Gaza for over 24 hours from now. “We still have probably, maybe a day-plus before this thing matures, and things can happen in that day. And I assume today is going to be a day of fighting in Gaza,” he said.

Media reports in Egypt and Israel had earlier suggested that a truce would come into effect at 10am tomorrow (8am GMT).

A Palestinian official has suggested to Reuters that the proposed swap of 50 Israeli hostages held in Gaza for 150 Palestinians detained in Israeli jails may be repeated later this month.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told Reuters “The second batch will follow the first batch. They would need four or five days to organise it … will involve 50 Israeli in return for 150 Palestinian.”

Israel has already offered to extend the planned four-day pause by a day for every additional 10 hostages handed over by Hamas.

Earlier today a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said the military would be implementing an “operational pause” rather than a ceasefire.

He could not confirm when the hostilities might cease, and said the army was awaiting further instructions from politicians.

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