The latest swap of Hamas militant-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel took place Tuesday evening as part of an ongoing cease-fire agreement between the warring sides. Twelve Israeli hostages — nine women and a 17-year-old — as well as two foreigners were handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza and were back in Israeli territory, the military said. About an hour later, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners.
- Hostage Exchange Under Cease-Fire: A swap of hostages held by Hamas militants for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel occurred as part of the ongoing cease-fire agreement.
- Hostages Released by Hamas: Twelve Israeli hostages and two foreigners were handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza and have returned to Israeli territory.
- Palestinian Prisoners Released by Israel: In response, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners.
- Cease-Fire Extension: The cease-fire has been extended until Wednesday, indicating the possibility of further exchanges and a prolonged halt to the war.
- Aid into Gaza: An extended cease-fire would allow more aid into Gaza, which has suffered from weeks of Israeli siege and bombardment.
- Israel’s Commitment to Military Action: Despite the truce, Israel remains committed to ending Hamas’ rule in Gaza and destroying its military capabilities, potentially expanding its ground offensive.
- Impact on Gaza’s Population: The war and possible expansion of Israel’s military operations have displaced a significant portion of Gaza’s population.
- U.S. Pressure on Israel: The Biden administration has urged Israel to better protect Palestinian civilians and operate with more precision in its offensive.
- International Mediation Efforts: High-level discussions, including by CIA Director William Burns and Israel’s Mossad Chief David Barnea, are taking place in Qatar to discuss extending the cease-fire and hostage releases.
- Turkey’s Humanitarian Plans for Gaza: Turkey plans to set up field hospitals in Gaza to provide health services to the battered region.
- Violations of Cease-Fire: Both Israel and Hamas have accused each other of violating the cease-fire, but these incidents have not yet threatened the overall truce.
- Public Support for Hostage Release: In Israel, there is a strong public sentiment for the speedy release of all hostages, highlighted by the case of the youngest captive, a 10-month-old infant.
The Associated Press has the story:
Israel releases 30 prisoners after Hamas frees 12 hostages in extended truce deal
The latest swap of Hamas militant-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel took place Tuesday evening as part of an ongoing cease-fire agreement between the warring sides.
Twelve Israeli hostages — nine women and a 17-year-old — as well as two foreigners were handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza and were back in Israeli territory, the military said. About an hour later, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their cease-fire until Wednesday, raising the prospect of further exchanges and a longer halt to their deadliest and most destructive war. Since last Friday, Hamas has released 81 hostages, mostly Israeli nationals, while Israel has freed 180 Palestinian prisoner.
An extended case-fire would also allow more aid into Gaza, which has been battered by weeks of Israeli siege and bombardment and a ground offensive that has driven three out of every four people in Gaza from their homes. The territory is home to 2.3 million people.
But Israel says it remains committed to crushing Hamas’ military capabilities and ending the group’s 16-year rule over Gaza. That would likely mean expanding a ground offensive from devastated northern Gaza into the south.
Roughly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza. About 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas.
DISPLACED FAMILIES SALVAGE WHAT THEY CAN FROM DESTROYED HOMES IN GAZA
JOHOR AL-DEEK, Gaza Strip — Displaced Palestinian families in Gaza were using a pause in fighting on Tuesday to search for belongings they left behind, with some scouring through rubble where their homes once stood.
While the temporary cease-fire has stopped the Israeli airstrikes, homeless families in Johor al-Deek in central Gaza said they’re struggling to stay warm.
“Winter has come, and I have nothing for them to wear,” said Hanan Tayeh as she searched for belongings buried under her flattened home. “It is cold, we are homeless.”
There are about 1.8 million people displaced in Gaza, about three quarters of the besieged territory’s population, according to the U.N. humanitarian agency.
Over the past two weeks the weather has turned, with rain and cold winds sweeping across the territory. Some areas have been affected by flooding.
“There is no home, as if it was erased from the map,” said Yaser Felfel. “I have six children, we are eight members, where do we go?”ISRAEL RELEASES 30 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS
Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners Tuesday on the fifth day of its temporary cease-fire with Hamas.
Earlier Tuesday, Hamas released 12 hostages the group had been holding captive since Oct. 7.
Since last Friday, Hamas has released 81 hostages, mostly Israeli nationals, while Israel has freed 180 Palestinian prisoners. The exchange is part of an ongoing cease-fire agreement between the warring sides.
ISRAEL SAYS 12 HOSTAGES FREED BY HAMAS ARRIVE IN EGYPT
The Israeli army said Tuesday that 10 Israelis and two foreigners held hostage in Gaza have been released, arriving in Egypt on the fifth day of a temporary cease-fire.
Hamas released nine women and a 17-year-old on Tuesday evening, the Israeli army said. The hostages will be flown to hospitals in Israel, where they will be reunited with their families.
Around 30 Palestinian prisoners are expected to be released as part of the deal negotiated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States. The original four-day ceasefire, which expired Monday, was extended for an additional two days.
TURKEY PLANS FIELD HOSPITALS IN GAZA
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s health minister said Tuesday that his country hopes to soon set up field hospitals and start providing health services in Gaza.
Fahrettin Koca made the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter, hours after a Turkish delegation crossed into Gaza from Egypt to inspect possible sites for field hospitals. He did not provide additional information.
Turkey dispatched a ship carrying medical equipment and supplies, including ambulances and eight field hospitals, to Egypt earlier this month.
ISRAEL AND HAMAS TRADE ACCUSATIONS OF A CEASE-FIRE VIOLATION
TEL AVIV, Israel — For the first time since the cease-fire began last Friday, Israel and Hamas have traded accusations of a serious violation. The Israeli military said three explosive devices were detonated near its troops at two locations in northern Gaza, and that militants at one site opened fire on the troops, who fired back. It said its troops were in positions in accordance with the terms of the truce,
Hamas, in turn, accused Israel of committing a “blatant breach of the cease-fire,” triggering retaliation by its fighters, without providing details. It said in a statement that it “was still committed to the cease-fire so long as the enemy is committed to it,” and urged mediators to intervene.
It was not immediately clear if the exchange posed a threat to the truce. But it underscored the fragility of the truce in northern Gaza, where Israeli forces and Hamas fighters are holding their positions in close proximity to each other, each preparing for a potential resumption of fighting when the cease-fire ends.
The sides agreed to extend their truce through Wednesday, with another two planned exchanges of militant-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. But Israel has vowed to resume the war with “full force” to destroy Hamas once it’s clear that no more hostages will be freed under the deal.
FAMILY OF AN INFANT HOSTAGE PLEADS FOR HIS RELEASE AS TRUCE WINDS DOWN
TEL AVIV, Israel — Kfir Bibas has spent nearly a fifth of his life in Hamas captivity.
The 10-month-old was abducted from his home in a southern Israeli kibbutz on Oct. 7, when Palestinian militants snatched about 240 people and dragged them to Gaza.
Kfir, the youngest captive, was among about 30 children who were taken hostage in Hamas’ assault. Under a current temporary cease-fire, Hamas has released women, children and teens, but Kfir hasn’t been included on the lists of those set to be freed.
With his red hair and toothless smile, Kfir’s ordeal has become for many a symbol of the brutality of Hamas’ attack. With most other young hostages already released, Kfir’s fate and that of his 4-year-old brother, Ariel, are now a rallying cry for Israelis seeking the speedy release of all the hostages. A demonstration in support of the Bibas family is being held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“There is no precedent for something like this, for a baby who was kidnapped when he was 9 months old,” Eylon Keshet, Kfir’s father’s cousin, told reporters on Tuesday. “Is baby Kfir the enemy of Hamas?”
Kfir Bibas’ family, like other relatives of captives, has been tormented since Oct. 7. They have received no sign that he is still alive and wonder how such a helpless infant can cope with being in captivity for so long.
— Israel and Hamas extend their truce, but it seems only a matter of time before the war resumes.
— US tells Israel any ground campaign in southern Gaza must limit further civilian displacement.
— The family of an infant hostage pleads for his release as truce winds down.
— Freed Israeli hostage describes deteriorating conditions while being held by Hamas.
— Blinken will return to the Middle East as US hopes for longer cease-fire and more hostage releases.
— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war