Another eleven Hamas hostages released - ceasefire extended by two days

It was the fourth hostage release in the Gaza Strip since a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Friday.

Another eleven Hamas hostages released - ceasefire extended by two days

It was the fourth hostage release in the Gaza Strip since a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Friday. According to the Israeli army, the released hostages reached Israeli territory on Monday evening. In return for the Israeli hostages, "33 Palestinian civilians" would be released from Israeli prisons, a spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on X.

A few hours earlier, the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had been extended by two days, according to consistent reports. The Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on X that an agreement had been reached “to extend the humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for two more days.” Hamas confirmed the extension.

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock, the UN and the USA welcomed the extension of the ceasefire, which would have expired on Tuesday morning without a further agreement. This is “valuable time, also to get our help to the people in Gaza,” wrote Baerbock on X.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters that the extension was a “glimmer of hope and humanity”. The UN hopes to be able to further expand humanitarian aid for the people in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously spoken openly in favor of an extension after a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden. But he also told Biden that Israel would then continue to pursue its goal of “destroying Hamas” “with full force.”

The ceasefire that began on Friday provides a brief sigh of relief in the war that has been going on for more than seven weeks. By Monday evening, 50 Israeli hostages had been released from Hamas captivity, including German dual nationals. 19 other hostages, many of them Thais, were released under separate agreements. In return, Israel had released a total of 117 Palestinian prisoners by Monday.

The Hamas hostages were kidnapped in the brutal attack by the Islamist Palestinian organization on October 7th. Hundreds of fighters from Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, invaded Israel and, according to Israeli figures, killed around 1,200 people and took 240 people into their control.

Israel then began massive air and ground attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip. According to Hamas figures, which cannot be independently verified, almost 15,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since then.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Morris Tidball-Binz and special rapporteur on torture Alice Jill Edwards called on Monday for independent investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The ceasefire will also be used to deliver humanitarian aid to the suffering civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Since Friday, hundreds of trucks carrying relief supplies have reached the sealed-off Palestinian territory.

According to the United Nations, around 1.7 million of Gaza's 2.4 million residents are displaced because of the war. A spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) spoke of an "unprecedented" need for humanitarian aid. "We should send 200 trucks a day to Gaza continuously for at least two months," he said.

According to the federal government, there are still "a low three-digit number" of Germans in the Palestinian territory. According to a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office, more than 400 citizens, including their family members, have been able to travel to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing since the beginning of the war.

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