Wednesday, November 29, 2023 by Belle Carter
Eleven hostages have been released from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip late Monday, the last day of the four-day truce between Israel and the Palestinian militant group.
Prior to this, 58 hostages were freed over the first three days of the agreement. Thirteen Israeli women and children were released each day, per the deal’s terms, along with varying numbers of other nationals, including citizens of Thailand, Poland, the Philippines and Russia.
Under the deal, 150 Palestinian women and teenagers are to be released from Israeli jails. So far, 117 have been freed, primarily women and minors, many of whom were detained but never charged. A bus carrying 39 Palestinian teenagers released from Israeli prisons in the third round of prisoner swaps arrived in the center of Ramallah in the central West Bank on Sunday evening.
The Israel-Hamas temporary truce was initially expected to begin Thursday, but more details were hammered out after Mossad director David Barnea traveled to Doha to negotiate final details. This delayed the start of the deal, and the release of initial hostages began on Friday. The Hamas side has confirmed after this that “In four days, 50 [hostages] will be released.” In return three jailed Palestinian terror convicts will go free for each Israeli hostage, with a total of 150 Palestinians freed by the end of it. (Related: Israel approves MULTI-DAY CEASEFIRE DEAL: Hundreds of imprisoned Palestinian women and children to be released in exchange for 50 Israeli hostages.)
#BREAKING: Qatar foreign ministry on Gaza humanitarian pause deal:
– Truce to start at 07 AM local time on November 24
– Lists of civilians to be released from Gaza received
– Humanitarian aid will start flowing into Gaza as soon as truce begins pic.twitter.com/t0SGXvggb2
— TRT World (@trtworld) November 23, 2023
As for the pause in fighting, there’s been contradictory information to emerge concerning when precisely the temporary ceasefire will take place. It was previously reported that the stoppage in fighting would only occur after the first round of hostages go free. If the pause proves successful, more hostage releases could be pending. Qatar has issued the following statement related to this: “What we have felt is that they are committed to this highly. Our aim is to reach this agreement and to pave the way for more pauses that can put an end to this war that everyone is suffering from. Hopefully, the end will be very soon and we need to build this and that in order to reach a lasting permanent ceasefire.”
Prior to the deal, four hostages were already released and another was freed by Israeli forces, including Americans Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie who were released on October 20, senior-aged women Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifschitz, who were released on October 23 and Israeli soldier Ori Megidish, who was freed during ground operations in Gaza on October 29.
Meanwhile, Israel is still standing firm in its vow to eradicate Hamas, which means that the release of hostages would not be the end of the conflict. “The war continues,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week in Tel Aviv. “We continue until we have achieved complete victory … Eliminating Hamas, liberating our captives and making sure that post-Hamas there will be no threat to Israel,” he added.
On Monday, Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the temporary truce by two days, paving the way for the release of some 20 more people held hostage by the Palestinian terror group. Israel just received the list of Israeli hostages set to be released Tuesday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The list of hostages is currently being reviewed, the PMO said and “notices are being delivered at this time” to the families of those set to be freed after over 50 days as a hostage in Gaza following the October 7 mass assault. The announcement does not specify the number of hostages set for release.
News of the extension raised hopes for families of the approximately 175 Israelis and foreigners still held in Gaza, including Kfir Bibas, who was nine months old when he was captured, along with his parents and four-year-old brother from Kibbutz Nir Oz on the first day of the Hamas attack.
The ongoing Middle East conflict has already killed at least 14,854 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and over 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave. The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.
Head to WWIII.news to read more updates on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.
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