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BEIJING: China welcomed on Wednesday a truce deal between Israel and Hamas, after they reached an agreement on a four-day humanitarian pause in exchange for the release of 50 hostages in Gaza.

“We welcome the temporary ceasefire agreement reached by relevant parties,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing.

Beijing hopes “that it will help ease the plight of the humanitarian crisis, de-escalate the conflict and ease tensions”, Mao said.

“Since the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has always called for a ceasefire and made unremitting efforts to cool down the situation, protect civilians and carry out humanitarian assistance,” she added.

Qatar confirmed on Wednesday that Israel and Hamas had reached an agreement after weeks of intense, behind-the-scenes negotiations aimed at freeing some of the 240 hostages held in Gaza in return for a temporary ceasefire and access for humanitarian aid.

Hamas gunmen stormed across Israel’s border on October 7 and staged the deadliest attack in the country’s history.

China says ‘opposes and condemns’ actions that harm civilians in Israel violence

Israel says the attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and around 240 more were taken hostage, among them elderly people and children.

In response, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which the Hamas government says has killed more than 14,100 people, thousands of them children.

China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping called for an “immediate” ceasefire and for the release of civilian detainees.

He called for an “international peace conference” to resolve the conflict.

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