The Islamist Hamas has handed over another group of hostages to the Red Cross as part of the ceasefire in the Gaza war. The Israeli army announced on Tuesday that there were ten Israelis and two foreigners. In return, 30 more Palestinian prisoners are to be released. It was the fifth group of hostages to be released since the ceasefire began on Friday. Television images showed many frail-looking older women among those released. There was also a girl with her dog, who had been kidnapped.
Meanwhile, the relatives of previously released German-Israeli hostages commented on the condition of their family members. Of the people abducted from Israel to the Gaza Strip by terrorists on October 7th, around 20 also had German citizenship.
The four-day ceasefire that began on Friday morning was extended by two days under the previously applicable conditions. This could last until Thursday morning. It was initially unknown whether it would be extended again afterwards. However, in the background there were efforts to expand. As the German Press Agency learned, the heads of the US CIA and the Israeli foreign secret service Mossad arrived in Doha on Tuesday for talks with the Qatari Prime Minister.
Ceasefire at risk
How endangered the ceasefire is became apparent on Tuesday when there was an exchange of fire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army, Israeli soldiers were shot at and several were slightly injured. They would have fired back. In addition, a total of three explosive devices exploded next to soldiers at two locations. This meant that the framework of the ceasefire had been “violated,” it was said.
Hamas confirmed a confrontation with the Israeli army and accused Israel of violating the ceasefire. However, the terrorist organization emphasized that it continues to feel bound to the agreement as long as Israel also feels committed.
Efforts to extend the ceasefire
The talks in Doha between CIA Director William Burns and Mossad chief David Barnea and Qatari Prime Minister Abdulrahman Al Thani are about expanding ceasefire efforts in the Gaza war, a person familiar with the talks in the Qatari capital said on Tuesday the dpa. The next phases of a possible agreement were also on the agenda at the meeting, which Egyptian representatives were also expected to take part in.
Qatar and Egypt, in consultation with the USA, had mediated between Israel and Hamas in recent weeks. Qatar in particular has very good contacts with Hamas; the Hamas leadership also lives in the Gulf emirate.
Since the ceasefire began, 69 of the approximately 240 hostages held in the Gaza Strip had been released by early Tuesday evening. Among them were a total of 51 Israelis, ten of whom also have German citizenship. In exchange for the released Israeli hostages, 150 Palestinians were released from prisons in Israel.
Qatar: Unable to confirm number of remaining hostages
According to the mediator Qatar, more hostages should be released on Wednesday. Qatar cannot definitively confirm the number of hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip. There are many estimates on this. "But we cannot confirm any of these figures," Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari said at a news conference on Tuesday. The Gulf emirate of Qatar is continuing to try to extend the ceasefire. The aim is a permanent ceasefire.
German Gaza hostages have “been through a traumatic experience”
According to relatives, the family of several German-Israeli hostages who were recently released are now trying to find their way back to life. This is a long process for her aunt, her cousin and their two children, Shira Havron told the German Press Agency on the phone on Tuesday. "They've all been through traumatic things." However, Havron said she was not allowed to talk about the conditions and experiences of her relatives being held hostage.
The Islamist Hamas released their relatives on Saturday as part of the agreement with the Israeli government. The four have both Israeli and German citizenship. Her 67-year-old aunt Shoshan, her 38-year-old daughter Adi and their two children are doing well physically after their release from the Gaza Strip, Havron said. "But my cousin's husband is still being held there." The picture would not be complete without the 38-year-old Tal.
Hamas calls for global solidarity protests
The Islamist terrorist organization Hamas called for global protests and solidarity marches with the people of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. She referred to the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is celebrated annually on November 29th. In the call distributed on Tuesday, Hamas accused Israel, among other things, of war crimes in the Gaza war that began on October 7th.
The war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel's history, carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other groups from the Gaza Strip on October 7th in Israel near the border. 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.