Wednesday Briefing

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A woman walking by dozens of faces of hostages projected onto an outdoor wall.
Faces of hostages taken by Hamas were projected on a wall in Jerusalem.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

After weeks of negotiations, the Israeli government said it would uphold a cease-fire of at least four days in Gaza if Hamas freed 50 of the hostages it captured last month. In return, Israel would exchange roughly 150 Palestinian prisoners. Hamas and Qatar, the lead mediators of the deal, did not immediately comment.

The Israeli government said it was “committed to the return of all abductees home,” adding: “The release of every 10 additional abductees will result in an additional day of respite.” The deal cannot be enacted until tomorrow at the earliest, to allow time for Israeli judges to review potential legal challenges to the prisoner release, Israeli officials said.

During the proposed cease-fire, fighting would halt, Israeli troops would remain in their current positions, and Israel would refrain from flying surveillance aircraft over Gaza for six hours a day, the officials said. Civilians currently in southern Gaza would not be allowed to return to the north.

Background: Hamas and its allies in Gaza killed around 1,200 people and captured about 240 hostages during their raid on southern Israel on Oct. 7, according to Israeli officials. Israel has responded with attacks on the ground and from the air, killing roughly 13,000 people, according to Gazan health officials.

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