The military wing of Islamist Hamas claimed the deaths of three Israeli hostages, including a 10-month-old baby. The Qassam Brigades announced on their Telegram channel on Wednesday that the mother, her baby and her four-year-old brother were killed in Israeli attacks. However, a similar claim turned out to be a lie in another kidnapping case.
An elderly Israeli woman was initially pronounced dead, but was later released alive. The mother and the family of the two children made an emotional appeal to the public on Tuesday, calling for their immediate release. Video footage of the frightened mother and her two red-haired children being kidnapped spread around the world following the massacre carried out by Hamas terrorists in the Israeli border region on October 7.
The Israeli army said military officials informed the family of the news. The army is checking the reliability of these statements by Hamas. The statement said, “The terrorist organization Hamas continues to act cruelly and inhumanely.” “Hamas is endangering hostages, including nine children.”
The Israeli military had recently assumed that the three men had been handed over by Hamas to another militant group and were being held in Khan Younis, south of the coastline.
Hamas could release the hostages again later in the day, and Israel could release Palestinian detainees in return. Hamas spokesman Gazi Hamad told Al Jazeera news channel that mediators were working “very hard” to reach “an agreement” with Qatar and Egypt and extend the ceasefire. The situation is complicated, but he is optimistic about a possible extension.
According to Israeli negotiating circles, Hamas still has enough hostages to extend the ceasefire for two or three days. The person who participated in the negotiations and did not want to give his name says that this emerged from the list of women and children. Egyptian security circles had also previously reported that a two-day extension was possible. How many hostages should be released in return is still being debated. This is the condition for avoiding new attacks. So far, 60 women and children have been handed over to Israel.
Hamas and Israel had previously extended the ceasefire, which was planned to last for four days, by two days. This means it will likely end Thursday morning without another extension. According to the parties’ original agreement, the ceasefire could be extended for up to ten days to allow further release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners.
A senior member of the Islamist Hamas announced on Wednesday the release of two female hostages of Russian nationality. Hamas leader Musa Abu Marsouk, in a statement to a radio station in Gaza, said that the broadcast was outside the agreement with Israel and was a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The women and ten Israeli hostages will be released on Wednesday.
The Israeli hostages will be released in exchange for the release of 30 other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. Hamas released the 25-year-old Israeli-Russian dual citizen without compensation on Sunday. Hamas has so far released 81 Israelis and foreigners in exchange for 180 Palestinian prisoners. According to Israel, more than 150 hostages, including a 10-month-old baby, are still being held in the Gaza Strip.
The hostages were among about 240 people kidnapped in a surprise attack by Hamas militants in southern Israel on October 7. According to information provided by Israel, around 1,200 people were killed. According to an insider, there is now talk of releasing men and members of the Israeli army among the hostages, not women and children as before.
According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the United States is trying to further extend the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Speaking to the press after the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Blinken said this would mean more hostages could return home. Additionally, more aid to the civilian population will reach the Gaza Strip. “This is obviously something we want. I think it’s something Israel wants, too.” During his visit to Israel in the coming days, he will work with the Israeli side to extend the ceasefire.