Middle East conflict: Hamas releases 17 more hostages – Israel releases 39 Palestinians from custody

The third group of freed Islamist Hamas hostages has left the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military.

Middle East conflict: Hamas releases 17 more hostages – Israel releases 39 Palestinians from custody

The third group of freed Islamist Hamas hostages has left the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military. Red Cross representatives handed over twelve hostages to security forces at the border fence with Israel, the army announced on Sunday. Another hostage was taken directly to an Israeli hospital by helicopter. According to Israeli television, the Israelis were nine children and four women.

At the same time, three foreigners and an Israeli were initially taken across the border into Egypt and then on to Israel. According to media reports, there are three Thais and one Russian-Israeli citizen. They were not part of the agreement negotiated by Israel and Hamas.

The Red Cross confirmed the handover of the 17 hostages.

The Israeli prison authority has again released a group of 39 Palestinians as part of a deal between Israel and the Islamist Hamas. They were released from several prisons during the evening, the Israeli prison authorities announced on Sunday evening. According to Palestinian reports, there were 39 male youths under the age of 19.

According to reports, there was also a prisoner from the Gaza Strip among them. He was released at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to prison authorities. The remaining freedmen were expected in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A large crowd gathered in Ramallah to welcome her.

However, dozens of hostages are still in the hands of Hamas. The currently ongoing break in fighting is expected to last at least until Tuesday morning. According to the agreement between Israel and Hamas, a total of 50 Israeli hostages will initially be released during this time. In addition, 14 Thais and one Filipino citizen, among others, had already been released.

An extension of the ceasefire to up to ten days and further releases should be possible, as the Gulf Emirate of Qatar, which is mediating in the conflict, announced.

The latest Gaza war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel's history, which terrorists from the Gaza Strip committed 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 the Islamist Hamas, almost 15,000 people were killed. More than 36,000 were injured. The numbers cannot currently be independently verified.

Editor's note: This article has been updated several times.

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