Israel-Hamas truce believed to be holding, with hostage release expected in coming hours

WORLD: A truce between Israel and Hamas that was scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. ET) Friday is believed to be holding, with civilian hostages held captive by militants expected to be released in the coming hours as part of a breakthrough diplomatic deal following an uneasy day-long delay.

The pause in fighting, part of the carefully negotiated agreement announced Wednesday, appeared to be taking effect despite what sounded like sporadic Israeli artillery fire and sirens warning of rockets from Gaza in the minutes after it was due to begin.

CNN journalists in the southern Israel city of Sderot said the sounds of heavy weapons fire stopped around 7:18 a.m. local time (12:18 a.m. ET).

They heard what sounded like small arms fire inside Gaza about 20 minutes later, but artillery fire, airstrikes and rockets appear to have stopped.

At least 90 aid trucks have so far entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, an Egyptian official at the border told CNN, carrying desperately needed supplies to ease a humanitarian crisis that’s worsened each day of Israel’s blockade of the enclave. They were among the 200 aid trucks that had entered the Egyptian side of the crossing on Friday morning, the official said.

 

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