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Truce-for-hostages deal set to bring 4-day pause to Gaza conflict

Agreement brings hope more Canadians will soon be able to leave the Gaza Strip
Families and friends of about 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza call for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bring them home during a demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. Israel’s Cabinet has approved a ceasefire agreement with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war that has continued for more than six weeks. The Israeli government said that under an outline of the deal, Hamas is to free at least 50 of the roughly 240 hostages taken in its Oct. 7 attack over a four-day period. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

There is hope more Canadians will soon be able to leave the Gaza Strip, after Qatar announced a truce-for-hostages deal between Israel and Hamas that would bring a four-day halt in fighting in the devastating six-week war.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry — which had led weeks of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas — said it would announce within a day when the clock will start ticking on the truce, during which 50 hostages will be released in stages in exchange for what Hamas said would be 150 Palestinians prisoners held by Israel.

The Israeli government said it would extend the lull by an additional day for every 10 hostages released.

Global Affairs Canada has said one Canadian is missing, but won’t confirm if that person is being held hostage, a possibility Washington hinted at in a statement over the weekend.

Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he is “very pleased that a deal has been reached” during his visit to Israel.

He said he has met with many hostage families in Israel and he is happy the deal between Israel and Hamas will lead to the release of 50 hostages and the delivery of significant humanitarian aid to Gaza.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly expressed hope that a deal would allow all foreign nationals in Gaza to get out of the war zone, including the roughly 200 Canadians who are still there.

No Canadians were among those on Wednesday’s list of foreign nationals approved to cross into Egypt from Gaza.

The latest Israel-Hamas war began after militants killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7.

Israel launched a retaliation campaign that the health officials in Gaza say has killed more than 12,700 people.

READ ALSO: Joly says Canada watching closely, hoping Israel/Hamas strike hostage deal

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