Islamist Hamas has handed over a sixth group of hostages to the Red Cross as part of a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza war. As in previous days, there were ten Israelis there, the Israeli army said on Wednesday. They include three Germans who also have Israeli passports, as well as one US and Dutch citizen with dual citizenship, explained Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari. In addition, two Russians and four Thais were released due to Hamas violence.
Uncertainty regarding ceasefire extension
In exchange, 16 Palestinian minors and 14 Palestinian women will be released from Israeli prisons, Al-Ansari said. It was initially unclear whether the ceasefire, which under previous agreements could end on Thursday, would be extended a second time and thus allow exchanges to continue. Qatar is confident that the progress made in the last few days can be maintained and that a further extension is possible.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas said it had handed over two Russian hostages to the Red Cross. Hamas stressed that the two abductees were released thanks to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They were supposed to be handed over by the Red Cross to representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry. These releases, as well as the releases of a Russian on Sunday and four Thais on Wednesday, are not part of the exchange agreement between Israel and Hamas.
Currently, eleven hostages, most of whom are Israeli, have dual German-Israeli citizenship. According to Israeli information, more than 150 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip.
Shortly before the end of the Gaza War ceasefire, intensive efforts were made to extend it. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to “do everything in our power to extend the pause.” Islamist Hamas said it was working hard on a possible extension, its spokesman told Al Jazeera news channel.
During the ceasefire, 81 hostages were released and 180 Palestinians were released from prison.
According to the original agreement between war opponents, the ceasefire could be extended for a maximum of ten days to allow for the continued release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Since the ceasefire began on Friday morning, it could last until Monday morning. During the ceasefire, 81 hostages were released by Tuesday evening. In return, Israel has already released 180 Palestinians from its prisons.
The latest war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the worst massacre in Israeli history, which Gaza terrorists carried out in Israel near the border on October 7th. More than 1,200 people died. About 240 hostages were brought to Gaza, including several Germans.
Israel responded with massive airstrikes, a blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched a ground offensive in late October. Almost 15,000 people were killed, according to Islamist Hamas. More than 36,000 were injured. These figures cannot be independently verified at this time (dpa/jst).
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