Israel and Hamas have agreed to prolong their temporary truce for an additional day, marking the eighth day of the ceasefire.
Reported by the Wall Street Journal and citing Egyptian officials, it involves a critical exchange: the release of more Israeli hostages in return for Palestinian prisoners. Both Israel and Hamas have not yet commented on this development.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office has verified the return of several Israeli hostages from the Gaza Strip. The group consisted of four adults, a 17-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man, including dual nationals from Uruguay, Mexico, and Russia. This release occurred after two women, one of whom is a French-Israeli dual national, were freed earlier in the day. These release a total of eight hostages for the day, although the truce agreement requires at least ten Israeli hostages to be released daily.
The slight discrepancy in the number of hostages released led to ongoing discussions among mediators to extend the truce, initially set to expire early Friday. Hamas considers the two Russian-Israeli women released on Wednesday as part of the required ten for the seventh group of releases. This interpretation aligns with mediator Qatar’s stance, confirming the release of eight Israeli hostages, including two minors and six women, on the seventh day of the Gaza truce.
Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari elaborated on the exchange, stating that 30 Palestinians would be released from Israeli prisons in exchange for ten hostages in Gaza. This count includes two Russian citizens released the previous day.
The truce between Israel and Hamas continues with an extension involving a hostage exchange agreement that has seen the release of several Israeli hostages, including minors and dual nationals. While there are minor discrepancies in the numbers, mediators are working to align the releases with the truce agreement’s stipulations. As discussions proceed, the involvement of international mediators like Qatar plays a crucial role in facilitating the process and ensuring adherence to the truce terms.