17 additional hostages released by Hamas bringing total now freed to 40

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17 additional hostages released by Hamas bringing total now freed to 40

According to deal, the terror group will release 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for a four-day pause in the fighting, but that truce could be extended

(Photos: Courtesy; combination image: Times of Israel)
(Photos: Courtesy; combination image: Times of Israel)

Hamas released 17 more hostages on Sunday afternoon — 14 Israelis, including one U.S. citizen, and three foreign nationals — to the Red Cross as part of its agreement with Israel to pause the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

In total, the terror group has now released 40 Israeli hostages, nearly all of them women and children, to Israel as part of an agreement that includes a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of some 150 Palestinians in Israeli prison on security offences.

According to the deal, Hamas will release 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for a four-day pause in the fighting, but that truce could extend: Israel will continue the ceasefire for one additional day for every 10 hostages Hamas releases.

Hamas has released a total of 18 foreign hostages, nearly all of them Thai, under a separate agreement reached by the Thai government via Iran.

Sunday’s release came after a dispute between Hamas and Israel the previous day nearly scuttled the agreement. Hamas held off on releasing hostages on Saturday, accusing Israel of hindering the delivery of aid to Gaza, which Israel denied.

The release took place close to a midnight deadline, following intervention by President Joe Biden and leaders of Qatar and Egypt.

Sunday’s release, for the first time, included a younger Israeli man. According to the Israeli publication Ynet, the Israeli hostages released Sunday include:

Abigail Mor Idan, 3, an American-Israeli citizen.
Hagar Brodutch and her children Ofri, 10, Yuval 8, and Uriyah, 4.
Sisters Dafna and Ela Elyakim, 15 and 8.
Chen Almog-Goldstein, 48, and her children Agam,  17, Gal, 11, and Tal, 9. Their husband and father, Nadav, was killed in the massacre, as was another child.
Aviva Siegel, 62, who immigrated to Israel from South Africa. Her American husband, Keith, is still being held hostage.
Alma Avraham, 84.
Roni Krivoi, 25.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the fighting after the ceasefire ends, with the aim of deposing Hamas in Gaza. He visited Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

The war began when Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking more than 200 hostage. Well over 100 hostages remain in captivity. Israel’s ensuing war on the terror group in Gaza has included a ground invasion and airstrikes.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, more than 12,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, a number that does not distinguish between civilians and combatants and does not specify casualties from misfired Palestinian rockets.

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