Middle East: Six more Hamas hostages returned to Israel

Middle East conflict
On the last day of the ceasefire: Six Hamas hostages arrived in Israel

On Wednesday, some of the released hostages were taken by helicopter to an Israeli hospital

© Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

It is not clear whether Israel and Hamas will extend the ceasefire. The terrorist organization has released six more hostages – although there should be ten.

The hostages released by the Islamist Hamas on Thursday evening are in Israel arrived. The military said the six Israelis were on their way to a medical examination and would then meet their families in hospitals. According to information from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, there were four women as well as an 18-year-old and her 17-year-old brother. The two Arab-Israeli siblings were kidnapped from a Bedouin town in the south of the country.

Two Israeli women were also released in the afternoon. It was initially unclear whether any more hostages could be expected to be released. According to media reports, a total of ten Israeli hostages were originally supposed to be released by Hamas on Thursday.

According to a spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, Israel will release 30 Palestinian prisoners that night in return. “According to the terms of the 7th day of the humanitarian pause agreement, 30 Palestinians will be released today in exchange for the release of 10 hostages in Gaza. The 2 Russian citizens released yesterday are included in this list,” wrote Majid al -Ansari on X, formerly Twitter. On Wednesday he announced that the two Russian citizens, who also have Israeli passports, would be released in addition to the steps agreed in the agreement between Israel and Hamas. Qatar mediates between the warring parties.

Are Israel and Hamas extending the ceasefire?

It was also unclear whether the ceasefire, which according to previous agreements was supposed to end on Friday morning, would be extended again. According to unconfirmed reports, discussions about an extension are ongoing in the background.

According to the original agreement of the war opponents, the ceasefire could be extended to a maximum of ten days in order to enable the further release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Since the ceasefire began on Friday morning, it could, in principle, last until Monday morning. However, it was unclear whether Hamas would be able and willing to release ten more hostages every day, as Israel demanded.

Hamas terrorist attack

The latest Gaza war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel’s history, which terrorists from the Gaza Strip committed in Israel near the border on October 7th. More than 1,200 people were killed. Around 240 hostages were taken to Gaza, including several Germans.

Israel responded with massive airstrikes, a blockade of the Gaza Strip and began a ground offensive in late October. According to Hamas, almost 15,000 people were killed. More than 36,000 were injured. The numbers cannot currently be independently verified.

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