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HomeInternational NewsHamas Frees Second Group of Hostages Amid Gaza Truce Tensions

Hamas Frees Second Group of Hostages Amid Gaza Truce Tensions

Hamas released a second group of Israelis and foreign hostages on Saturday night, as confirmed by Israelis authorities on Sunday morning.

A lengthy delay had sparked concerns of a potential collapse of the fragile Gaza truce.

Qatar, collaborating with Egypt, played a key role in mediating the deal, ultimately overcoming a deadlock between Israel and Hamas.

Israel confirmed that Hamas handed over 13 Israelis—comprising eight children and five women—to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza.

The individuals were transported via a convoy through the Rafah crossing into Egypt and subsequently brought to Israeli hospitals. Additionally, four Thai nationals were freed.

Israel’s prison service reported the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners early Sunday, in line with a similar exchange that took place on Friday.

The Palestinian Authority’s prisoners affairs commission confirmed the departure of Red Cross buses from Ofer prison, bound for Al-Bireh Municipality in the West Bank with the detainees.

The resumption of the exchange on Saturday, after a tense period that threatened the truce’s collapse, followed Hamas’ threat to postpone the trade.

The group alleged that Israel had violated aspects of the agreement, citing insufficient aid delivery to northern Gaza and the alleged discrepancy in releasing Palestinian prisoners as per the agreed terms.

While a Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, accused Israel of manipulating the list of prisoners and condemned alleged shootings by Israeli soldiers at Gazan residents trying to return home, a senior Palestinian official later affirmed Qatar’s statement, signaling resolution of the dispute.

Expressing gratitude, Hamas recognized Egypt and Qatar for safeguarding the continuation of the temporary truce with Israel.

Under the deal, 50 Israeli hostages – women and children – are to be freed by Hamas over four days, in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.

The Israeli government says the truce could be extended if at least 10 Israelis are released daily – but it has also vowed to wipe out Hamas and insists the deal is only temporary.

Hamas kidnapped about 240 people when it raided southern Israel on 7 October, and killed 1,200, most of them civilians, Israel says.

The Iran-backed Islamist group is categorised as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK, the US and the European Union.

In retaliation for the 7 October attack Israel has bombed Gaza relentlessly, wrecking its infrastructure.

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