In a significant development amid the ongoing Gaza war, Israel and Hamas have made considerable strides in a prisoner swap deal under an extended truce. According to multiple sources, 12 more hostages were released by Hamas, and Israel, in turn, freed 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Details of the Hostage Release
Hamas released 12 hostages, including 10 Israeli citizens and two foreign nationals, who were among the 240 people seized during an incursion into southern Israel on October 7. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the transfer of the hostages from Gaza, and the Israeli military verified their safe arrival on Israeli territory. Among those released were a German national, a Filipina dual national, and two Argentinean dual nationals, as confirmed by Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari.
Palestinian Prisoners Freed
In reciprocation, Israel released 30 Palestinian detainees from Ofer Prison and a detention center in Jerusalem. This move aligns with the terms of the truce, which Qatar stated would involve the release of 15 women and 15 children.
Continued Efforts in Mediation
Mediators in Qatar are working to extend the current five-day truce, set to expire on Wednesday, as part of ongoing efforts to ease tensions and facilitate further exchanges. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed the extension as a “glimpse of hope and humanity in the middle of the darkness of war,” while the White House expressed optimism for a prolonged humanitarian pause.
The Humanitarian Impact
The extended truce has brought a much-needed respite to Gaza following weeks of intensive Israeli bombardment. As reported, more than 15,000 people have been confirmed killed in Israel’s bombardment, with about 40 percent being children. In contrast, Israel has suffered at least 77 military casualties and contends to have eliminated thousands of militants.
The global community, including G7 foreign ministers, has shown support for a further extension of the ceasefire to facilitate aid shipments and the release of more hostages. The statement from the G7 emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself but also underscored the importance of protecting civilians and complying with international law.