More Captives to Be Freed as Mediators Work, Lamees Abu Arqub, a newly released Palestinian prisoner, kisses her father in the hamlet of Dura in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday after Palestinians were released from Israeli jails in exchange for Hamas hostages held in Gaza.
More Captives to Be Freed as Mediators Work
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is slated to expire on Wednesday, but mediators in Qatar are attempting to prolong it for at least another 48 hours to allow for the release of more hostages and the delivery of extra aid to besieged Gaza.
On the second day of a two-day cease-fire extension, Hamas is likely to release at least 10 Israelis in exchange for at least 30 Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimates that 161 of the 240 captives taken by Hamas in last month’s onslaught on Israeli settlements are still being held by the Islamist militant group. According to Israel, around 1,200 people were killed when Hamas fighters poured out of Gaza and attacked adjacent Israeli communities.
Hamas released 10 Israelis and two Thai labourers in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners and detainees on Tuesday.
Details Concerning the Israelis’ Detention are Beginning to Emerge
Families of Israeli captives freed by Hamas continue to share their relatives’ captivity stories, with some speaking to media sources. Gideon Heiman claims that his 84-year-old mother did not receive critical medical care while detained in Gaza.
According to Israeli doctors, rescued hostages had returned malnourished. One of the former prisoners is in stable condition in a hospital, but her neurological health is yet unknown, according to her family. Devora Cohen claims her 12-year-old nephew Eitan informed her that his captors threatened crying Israeli youngsters with firearms to keep them quiet.
Earlier, a US official told NPR that CIA Director William Burns was in Doha for talks with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani and Mossad leader David Barnea. An Israeli official told NPR on Tuesday that “Israel has consistently said that as long as more hostages are released, it would address the possibility of further extending the pauses.”
Meanwhile, Hamas told negotiators that they agreed to prolong the truce for four days, according to Israeli media. According to Israeli media, a prolonged cease-fire may be in the works in order to secure the release of all hostages and a substantial number of Palestinian inmates.
United Nations, Aid Reaching Gaza During the Pause is Still Insufficient
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that “airstrikes, shelling, and ground clashes have largely ceased” since the temporary cease-fire went into effect on Friday, but that “an exchange of fire reportedly occurred between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the Beit Hanoun area, in the north, and Israeli forces reportedly used tank fire at open areas in the south.”
The hiatus has allowed Egypt, the Palestinian Red Crescent Societies, and United Nations organisations to “improve the delivery of aid into and across Gaza.” A Red Crescent assistance convoy carrying food, medical supplies, water, and non-food goods reached communities north of an informal dividing line that bisects Gaza, according to the UN. The Israeli military, which has focused its offensive operation on the north, has warned Gaza residents to move south of the border.
Despite the relief convoy’s arrival in the beleaguered north, OCHA emphasised that “the bulk of aid distribution during the day” occurred in the south. It also warned that the aid that has arrived in Gaza since the pause “is insufficient to meet the extensive needs.”
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged for “a full humanitarian ceasefire, for the benefit of the people of Gaza, Israel, and the wider region.”