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Hamas Releases 12 More Hostages On Sixth-Day Truce. Israel Freed 30 Palestinians

On Tuesday, the fifth day of an extended six-day truce between the Palestinian organisation and Israel, Hamas released 12 more hostages while Israel freed 30 Palestinian inmates.

The 12 captives were reportedly taken from Gaza, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), while the Israeli military verified that 10 Israeli residents and 2 foreign nationals were on Israeli soil with its special forces.

The hostages were among the roughly 240 individuals that Hamas terrorists apprehended on October 7 during their raid into southern Israel, during which Israel claims that 1,200 people were slain. More than 15,000 Gazans have died as a result of Israel’s retaliatory shelling of the Hamas-ruled territory, according to local health authorities.

Live video images broadcast by news agency on Tuesday showed a bus with Palestinian prisoners leaving Israel’s Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank.

Israel announced the release of thirty Palestinian prisoners from Ofer and a Jerusalem detention facility. The semi-official Palestinian Prisoner’s Club earlier said that there would be fifteen women and fifteen juvenile boys.

According to a news source, Palestinians have reached Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank.

According to a representative for Qatar’s foreign ministry, which is mediating the dispute, nine women and one child were among the released Israeli hostages.

It stated that the armed branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, the Al Quds Brigades, had released some of the hostages.

After warfare and bombardment for seven weeks, which left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins, the truce has given Gaza its first taste of relief. The cease-fire was scheduled to end Tuesday night, but both parties decided to prolong it in order to free more Palestinian inmates detained by Israel and hostages held by Hamas.

Israel has stated that if Hamas keeps releasing at least ten Israeli hostages every day, the ceasefire may be extended. However, since fewer women and children are being held captive, it might be necessary to negotiate the release of at least some Israeli men for the first time in order to keep the guns silent past Wednesday.

Since the truce began last Friday, Hamas has released 81 hostages in all. Of these, 60 are Israelis, all of whom are women and children, and 21 are foreigners, many of whom are farmworkers from Thailand.

Israel had freed 150 prisoners before Tuesday’s releases.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces and Hamas fighters largely held their fire and both sides expressed their hope for further extensions of the pause in fighting.

According to a source briefed on the visits, Qatar hosted the heads of the intelligence services from both the US CIA and Israel’s Mossad for a meeting aimed at “initiating further discussions about the next phase of a potential deal and building on the progress of the extended humanitarian pause agreement.”

Despite the general calm that prevailed in Gaza, the Israeli military reported that three explosive devices had gone off on Tuesday afternoon close to its troops in two separate areas of the northern Gaza Strip, in violation of the terms of the truce.

According to the report, some soldiers suffered minor injuries when militants opened fire on them in one spot.

There was no trace of jets in the sky or sound of explosives for a fifth day. Earlier, a lone column of black smoke could be seen rising above the destroyed wasteland of the northern Gaza conflict zone from across the fence in Israel.

The head of Israel’s armed forces, Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi, stated during a press conference that the IDF was ready to fight on and was still keeping an eye on Gaza.

Due to Israeli bombing, over two thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have lost their houses, leaving thousands of families sleeping outside in temporary shelters with nothing more than the possessions they could carry.

Many are using the truce to return to abandoned or destroyed homes, like Abu Shamaleh, who was picking through the rubble of his flattened home in Khan Younis, looking for anything recoverable.

He said 37 family members had been killed and that there was no machinery to excavate the body of a cousin still buried in the ruins.

“The truce is the time to lift the rubble and search for all the missing people and bury them. We honour the dead by burying them. What use is the truce if the bodies remain under the rubble?” he said.

Among Israeli hostages yet to be freed was 10-month-old baby Kfir Bibas, along with his brother Ariel, 4, and their parents Yarden and Shiri, seized from a kibbutz by gunmen on Oct 7.

Yarden’s sister told reporters relatives had learned the family would not be in the group to go free on Tuesday. Israeli officials said they believed the family was being held by another group and not Hamas.

“Kfir … is a child who still doesn’t even know how to say ‘Mommy’,” Jimmy Miller, a cousin, told. “We in the family are not managing to function … The family hasn’t slept for a long, long time already – 51 days.”

Israel has stated that it plans to continue its attack from the northern half of Gaza towards the southern half when the war restarts. According to US authorities, they have instructed their ally to take extra care when defending people as their soldiers continue.

Gaza’s health system has collapsed as a result of Israel’s siege, particularly in the north where there are no longer any operational hospitals. According to the World Health Organisation, many Gazans lacked access to food, safe water, vaccinations, medications, and vaccinations, and more could soon die from illness than bombardment.

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