Hamas Releases 2nd Group Of 17 Hostages After Hours Of Delay

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The agreement has led to early extinction.

Gaza/Jerusalem:

Thirteen Israelis and four Thais freed from Hamas exile entered Israel on Sunday to be reunited with their families as part of a landmark truce deal that has been briefly threatened by a dispute over aid.

A short-lived dispute over aid that threatened a temporary truce for the release of prisoners was overcome by Qatari and Egyptian mediation, but the deal remains fragile, with a total of 50 Israeli hostages to be exchanged for 150 Palestinian prisoners. four days.

Television footage shows Hamas handing over hostages to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) late Saturday after they left Gaza at the Rafah border crossing in Egypt. Of the 13 freed Israelis, six were women and seven were children and teenagers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced.

“The freed hostages are on their way to Israeli hospitals and will be reunited with their families,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

39 Palestinian civilians, including 33 minors, were released from Israeli prisons in exchange for Israeli hostages. Al Jazeera TV showed live footage of a bus it identified as the Red Cross carrying dozens of Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli prisons on its way to the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Beituniya.

A Palestinian official familiar with the diplomacy said Hamas would stick to a four-day truce with Israel, the first ceasefire since Hamas fighters swept through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking nearly 240 hostages.

In response to that attack, Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who rule Gaza, raining bombs and shells on the area and launching a ground offensive in the north. So far, about 14,800 people have been killed, 40% of them children, Palestinian health officials reported on Saturday.

Saturday’s exchange came in response to the release of 13 Israeli hostages, including children and the elderly, by 39 Palestinian women and youth from Israeli prisons by Hamas on Friday.

Litigation

The deal has already threatened to collapse after the armed wing of Hamas said it was delaying Saturday’s second round of hostage releases until Israel met all the conditions of the truce, including a pledge to release aid trucks to northern Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said only 65 of the 340 aid trucks that entered Gaza since Friday had reached northern Gaza, “less than half of what Israel agreed to.”

The IDF stated that the distribution of aid in the Gaza Strip was carried out by the United Nations and international organizations.

The United Nations confirmed that 61 trucks arrived in northern Gaza on Saturday, the highest number since October 7. Includes food, water and emergency medical supplies.

Al-Qassam Brigades said Israel had failed to honor the terms of the release of Palestinian prisoners and that Palestinian prisoners had not been released at a high level.

Qatari Foreign Ministry Spokesman Majid Al-Ansari said on Saturday that how and to whom priority should be given to the divorce, and the main requirement on the Palestinian side is the length of time he spends in Israeli prisons.

“Hopefully by the second or third day of this break, we’ll be able to sort out a lot of these details that have made this day so difficult,” he told CNN.

It took a lot of diplomatic work between Qatar and Egypt to prevent the agreement from falling apart, a process in which US President Joe Biden called Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Israel says the ceasefire may be extended if Hamas continues to release at least 10 hostages a day. A Palestinian source said up to 100 hostages could be freed.

‘Heart Divided’

While Saturday was a tense diplomatic day for Qatari and Egyptian mediators, it meant hours of nail-biting for the families of the hostages. For some, their happiness is still overshadowed by the captivity of others.

Mirit Regev, the mother of Maya Regev, who was among those released early on Saturday, said in a statement at the Hostage and Disappeared Families Forum: “My son is torn because my son Itay is still in Gaza by Hamas. A platform was set up to represent the family.

Among those released was 9-year-old Irish-Israeli hostage Emily Hand, who was allegedly killed first.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement: “This is a day of great joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family.” “For her family, these seven weeks have been slow and brutal torture,” he said, adding that Ireland had stepped up efforts to secure a permanent ceasefire.

But for the Palestinians, their joy at the release of prisoners from Israeli prisons was bittersweet. Israeli police were seen searching Sousa Bakr’s home shortly before her 24-year-old daughter Mara was released. The Israeli police declined to comment.

“There is no real joy, we feel even this little joy when we wait,” said Susan Becker. “We’re still afraid to feel joy,” she says.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is from a syndicated feed.)



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