Wednesday February 21, 2024

Israel receives 5th batch of hostages, releases 30 Palestinians

Published : 29 Nov 2023, 00:29

  DF News Desk
A vehicle carrying hostages released from the Gaza Strip arrives at a hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel, Nov. 26, 2023. File Photo: JINI via Xinhua.

The Israeli government confirmed on Tuesday that the fifth batch of hostages released from the Gaza Strip by Hamas has returned to Israel, reported Xinhua.

The 12 hostages, including 10 Israelis and two Thai nationals, will undergo an initial medical examination before being escorted by security forces to the hospital to be reunited with their families, according to the statements issued by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and Israel Defense Forces.

The humanitarian four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, supposed to expire on Tuesday morning, was extended for an additional two days, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Israel did not comment on the extension, but announced early Tuesday morning that it approved to release 50 more female Palestinian prisoners if "more Israeli hostages are released."

More than 200 hostages were taken to Gaza by Hamas militants during their Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel, which retaliated by launching deadly airstrikes and a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister's Office confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that David Barnea, chief of the country's intelligence agency Mossad, is currently in Qatar, one of the mediators of the Israel-Hamas truce deal that started last Friday.

Barnea's trip is probably related to a possible further extension of the truce, Israeli media reported.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced earlier that it handed over 10 Israeli hostages to the International Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a bus carrying 30 Palestinian prisoners departed on Tuesday evening from the Israeli Ofer prison, which is located near the West Bank city of Ramallah, said a Xinhua reporter on-site.

The Israel Prison Service confirmed that 30 Palestinians, including 15 women and 15 minors, were released from Israeli jails in the fifth swap under a truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, handed over the fifth batch of hostages to the International Red Cross. The Israeli government also confirmed it had received 12 hostages, including 10 Israelis and two Thai nationals, released from the Gaza Strip.

The humanitarian four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, supposed to expire on Tuesday morning, was extended for an additional two days, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.