Hamas and Israel Plan to Exchange More Hostages and Prisoners as Delicate Truce Continues – Latest News from POLITICO

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Amid a fragile truce in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, Israel and Hamas are anticipated to engage in a third cycle of hostage-prisoner exchange on Sunday.

Reports from Israeli media revealed that the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been furnished with a list of the hostages scheduled to be freed, and the families have been informed. As indicated by Haaretz, it is anticipated that at least one of the hostages to be released is Russian and is part of a deal between Hamas and Moscow.

The forthcoming swap is part of a four-day truce agreement brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S. During this period, Hamas is planning to release 50 hostages in return for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian detainees.

Following an attack on Israel by Hamas’ armed wing which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people and the kidnapping of approximately 240 others, the Israeli armed forces responded with relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and a ground operation. This led to the destruction of entire neighborhoods and fatalities of over 14,000 Palestinians. Additionally, about 1.7 million Gazans were displaced, according to the United Nations.

Since the onset of the truce, Hamas has released 41 hostages in exchange for 78 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, as reported by Agence France-Presse.

The second hostage exchange was delayed for several hours on Saturday after Hamas accused Israel of not upholding the truce agreement regarding the humanitarian aid trucks reaching the besieged northern Gaza region. Israel offered an explanation, stating that the delay was due to Hamas losing control in the northern Gaza Strip.

Finally, 13 Israelis and four Thai individuals were released in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners late Saturday.

However, uncertainty shrouds the next round of exchanges as a senior Red Cross official expressed a lack of confidence in the release of more hostages. Nevertheless, the Red Cross later clarified that the statement did not signify that the exchange was doomed.

Additionally, there were reports of a Palestinian farmer killed by Israeli forces in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp, as well as eight Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank within 24 hours.

According to Al Jazeera, senior commander Ahmed al-Ghandour, who was in charge of northern Gaza, died in the war. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also anticipated to travel to Israel this week.


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