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Hamas May Free More Hostages Amid Hope Of Extension Of Ceasefire

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On Wednesday, the final day of a protracted six-day truce in the Gaza Strip conflict, Hamas and Israel were anticipated to free more hostages and prisoners while speculation centered on whether mediator Qatar could arrange for another extension.

According to Israeli media, which cited the prime minister’s office, Israel has received a list of hostages that Hamas is anticipated to release on Wednesday.

Israel has stated that if Hamas keeps releasing at least ten Israeli hostages every day, the ceasefire may be extended. However, since fewer women and children are being held captive, it might be necessary to negotiate the release of at least some Israeli men for the first time in order to keep the guns silent past Wednesday.

Twelve hostages were set free by Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, on Tuesday, bringing the total number of hostages released since the truce’s start on Friday to 81. Along with foreign nationals, those have primarily been Israeli women and children.

Ten Israeli women and two Thai nationals, ranging in age from 17 to 84, were held captive. Among them was a mother-daughter duo. After receiving their first medical examinations, all of them were transferred to Israeli hospitals to meet their relatives.

A short while later, Israel freed thirty Palestinians from a detention facility in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank’s Ofer Prison. According to the semi-official Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, half of the inmates were female and the other teens were male. That increased the total number of Palestinians freed during the ceasefire.

The hostages were among the roughly 240 individuals that Hamas gunmen apprehended on October 7 during their raid into southern Israel, during which Israel claims that 1,200 people were slain. More than 15,000 Gazans have died as a result of Israel’s retaliatory bombardment of the Hamas-ruled territory, according to local health authorities.

Qatar was the middleman in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas that led to the ceasefire.

According to a person briefed on the situation, the officials talked about potential terms of a new phase of the truce agreement, such as Hamas freeing hostages who are men or military personnel rather than just women and children. They also talked about what could be required to achieve a ceasefire that lasts longer than a few days.

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