Hamas Releases Second Group of Hostages After Delay; Temporary Cease-Fire Holds

Second Group of 17 hostages Freed by Hamas

A second group of 17 hostages that had been held captive in Gaza by Hamas militants since October 7 was freed late Saturday night. This release came after an afternoon of delays as part of a short-term cease-fire agreement brokered by the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt. This exchange involved another 39 Palestinian women and children who were detained in Israel.

The 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals released included seven Israeli children, ranging in age from 3 to 16, and six Israeli women aged 18 to 67. Among those freed was 9-year-old Emily Hand, who had been initially believed to have been killed by Hamas.

The hostages were initially transported across Rafah crossing, into Egypt and the 13 Israeli hostages were flown to Israel early Sunday morning for medical evaluations.

This release came after an hours-long delay on Saturday, as Hamas accused Israel of not complying with the cease-fire’s terms. However, the obstacles were overcome, and the hostages were eventually freed and transported to Israeli hospitals.

This follows the release of an initial group of 24 Hamas-held hostages on Friday, the first day of the ceasefire. The cease-fire, which took effect Friday, calls for a pause in the fighting and the release of some 50 Hamas-held hostages, all women and children, over four days. Prior to Friday’s swap, Israel estimated that there were about 240 hostages still being held by Hamas.

As part of this agreement, hundreds of aid trucks are allowed to enter the devastated Gaza Strip. However, reports show that the amount of aid was below the agreed amount, contributing to the standoff on Saturday. These supplies have been slow to trickle into Gaza, despite the cease-fire’s terms.

Three Americans are among the 50 hostages slated to be freed as part of the deal. The U.S. does not know when the Americans held hostage will be released, or all of their conditions. Meanwhile, Israel is to release a first group of 39 Palestinian prisoners.


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