Hamas Release Second Group Of Israeli Hostages

A second group of Israeli hostages left Hamas captivity on Saturday, after hours of delay had increased the anxiety of desperate families.

The Israeli military said 13 Israelis were released in Gaza and in exchange 39 more Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel in the West Bank. Hamas also released four Thai hostages.

The first releases took place smoothly on Friday, under a temporary four-day truce deal brokered by Qatar.
Urgent talks saved Saturday’s handover.

The Israelis had been expected to be handed over to the Red Cross on Gaza’s border with Egypt at 16:00 (14:00 GMT).
The Hamas armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said there were issues over the delivery of aid to northern Gaza and the selection criteria for Palestinian prisoners being exchanged for captives held by Hamas. Israel denied violating the terms of the deal.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said a total of 340 aid trucks had gone into Gaza since Friday, but only 65 had reached northern Gaza – which he said was less than half of what Israel had agreed on. Israel describes the north as a war zone and says the UN is responsible for delivering the aid.
Later a senior Palestinian official close to the talks confirmed Qatar’s statement that the dispute had been resolved.
And Hamas voiced “appreciation towards Egypt and Qatar for ensuring the continuation of their temporary truce with Israel”.
Under the deal, 50 Israeli hostages – women and children – are to be freed by Hamas over four days, in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.
The Israeli government says the truce could be extended if at least 10 Israelis are released daily – but it has also vowed to wipe out Hamas and insists the deal is only temporary.
Hamas kidnapped about 240 people when it raided southern Israel on 7 October, and killed 1,200, most of them civilians, Israel says.