Israel and Hamas agreed to a deal early Wednesday that would pause fighting to secure the release of hostages and allow for additional humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The deal, which would pause fighting for at least four days and include the release of 50 women and children captured by Hamas and 150 Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel, marks a major diplomatic step after six weeks of fighting since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and the subsequent bombardment of Gaza. It is the product of lengthy negotiations between Israel, Hamas, the U.S. and Qatar.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that, with the deal, the Israeli government has approved the first stage in achieving the goal of bringing all hostages home, noting that the release of every additional 10 hostages will result in an additional day in the pause. But it also noted that Israel will “continue the war in order to return home all of the hostages, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza.”

Hamas confirmed the deal with Israel in a statement, saying that after days of “complex negotiations,” they had reached a “humanitarian truce.” It noted that with the pause in fighting, hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian relief will be permitted to enter Gaza. The starting time for the pause is expected to be announced in the next 24 hours.

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