War in the Middle East: Hamas frees six more hostages

Date: December 1, 2023 12:56 am

Terrorist organization Hamas has handed over 6 more hostages to the Red Cross. A total of eight hostages were released on Thursday. However, it is not known whether the ceasefire will be extended again.

The militant Islamist group Hamas released eight more hostages on Thursday. Initially, two women were handed over to the Red Cross on Thursday afternoon. Six more hostages were taken in the evening, the Israeli military confirmed. These are six Israelis kidnapped in the Gaza Strip.

The handover of the other six hostages was delayed because they were being held at various locations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported. It was initially unclear whether the bodies of the three hostages who died during the handover had also been handed over. Hamas had previously said it was negotiating with Israel over the extradition of the dead.

A total of 14 Germans were released

In response, the Israeli Prison Authority released 30 Palestinians, according to Palestinian sources. Palestinian media reported that their families welcomed them in East Jerusalem and the West Bank that night. Accordingly, there were 8 female and 22 male youth under the age of 19 years. A spokesman for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously spoken about the 7 female and 23 male youths on stage X.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli government currently suspects there are 140 hostages still in the Gaza Strip. However, only a few women and children are said to be among them. So it was questionable how long the current practice of freeing women and children in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire could continue. Since the ceasefire began last Friday, more than 100 hostages taken by Hamas in the Gaza Strip have been freed, including 14 Israelis with German citizenship. In response, Israel released more than 200 Palestinian prisoners from prison.

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Will the ceasefire be extended again?

It is unclear how long the ceasefire will last in Israel and the Gaza Strip. On Thursday night, shortly before the deadline, Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the ceasefire by one day until Friday morning.

Middlemen Egypt and Qatar tried to extend the deal again. The Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) said “Egyptian-Qatar contacts are underway to extend the ceasefire for another two days”. This would allow more prisoners and hostages to be released and more humanitarian aid to reach the Gaza Strip.

“Make deals with the devil”

Meanwhile, criticism of the ceasefire in Israel is growing. After an attack claimed by Hamas at a bus stop in Jerusalem that killed three people and wounded several others, Israel’s right-wing extremist police minister Itamar Ben-Ghir called for a ceasefire. “Hamas signs a cease-fire with one hand, and with the other it sends terrorists to kill Jews in Jerusalem,” Minister X wrote on Platform, earlier on Twitter.

“We must end our deals with the devil and immediately return to the fight with great force to achieve the ultimate goal of the war: the complete destruction of Hamas (…).”

Israeli government spokesman Eilon Levy also spoke in favor of resuming fighting. He also wrote in X. “If Hamas stops releasing mothers and children, we will resume military pressure to force everyone out of the country – we will not abandon our fathers, brothers and sons to the monsters of Hamas.”

Blinken has called for action against violent immigrants

The release of the remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip was the topic of a discussion between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and President Isaac Herzog during a visit to Israel. Blinken called on Israel to hold violent settlers in the West Bank accountable. The US State Department said “tensions in the West Bank” should be defused. To do this, it said, “Israel must take immediate action to hold settler extremists responsible for violence against Palestinian civilians.”

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In another meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken stressed that “it is imperative to address the humanitarian and security needs of civilians in the southern Gaza Strip before undertaking military operations.” “The United States remains committed to concrete steps to advance the Palestinian state,” he stressed.

Björn Dake, ARD Tel Aviv, tagesschau, November 30, 2023 10:00 pm

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