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Israel-Hamas. The second day of the exchange of hostages and prisoners under the ceasefire. Hamas set a condition: a delayed exchange

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13 Israeli hostages and four Thai citizens who were released by Hamas are already on Israeli territory. Earlier, the armed wing of the Palestinian organization said it had decided to delay the second round of exchanges, accusing Israel of violating the ceasefire agreement and not allowing humanitarian aid to reach the north of the Gaza Strip. Israel has denied these accusations. However, as the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported, after several hours of delay, “obstacles were overcome.”

The whole situation is related to the delay in the second round of hostage exchange, which was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon.

However, the armed wing of Hamas said at the time that it was delaying the release of the hostages because, it claimed, Israel failed to fulfill the concluded agreement, blocking access of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the northern part of the Gaza Strip and sending drones over the southern part of this territory. Israel denied it.

After 9 p.m., the reporter of “Fakty” TVN, Jacek Tacik, who was in Israel, reported that Saturday’s delay in releasing the hostages was “gigantic” because it happened at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

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Hostages released after many hours of delay

The situation changed late in the evening.

First, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Qatar Majid al-Ansari of Qatar reported that “after the delay, obstacles to the release of prisoners have been overcome thanks to Qatari-Egyptian contacts with both sides.” At the same time, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said that “significant progress” had been made in efforts to free the hostages after the delay. The Times of Israel reported, citing an anonymous source, that the US president Joe Biden spoke with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Sani, seeking help in the release of the hostages.

After 10 p.m., Egyptian television and the Israel Defense Forces reported that 13 Israeli hostages and four foreigners from Thailand crossed the border with Egypt in Rafah and were handed over by the Red Cross to the Egyptian services. The convoy, escorted by Israeli secret services, headed towards the border with Israel, which was crossed a short time later.

Hostages released by Hamas cross the border crossing with Egypt in Rafah Reuters

The 13 freed Israeli hostages include six women aged 21 to 67 and seven children and teenagers aged 3 to 18. All of them were abducted by Hamas on October 7 from Kibbutz Be’eri.

12 people are to be taken to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. According to the Times of Israel, the thirteenth person needs urgent medical help, although his life is not in danger. She is a 21-year-old woman who was referred to the nearby Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.

In exchange for the freed Hamas hostages, 39 Palestinians were released from prison

On the night from Saturday to Sunday, Israeli authorities announced that they had released 39 Palestinians from prison in exchange for the freed hostages.

According to AFP, all freed Palestinians were women and people under the age of 19, as were the hostages freed by Hamas.

Ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas

According to the ceasefire agreement that began on Friday morning, Hamas is to release one Israeli hostage for three Palestinian prisoners.

In total, during the four-day truce, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners. The agreement covers the exchange of women and minors.

The first exchange took place on Friday. Hamas released 13 hostages, and in return, Israel released 39 prisoners.

READ: Ministry of Foreign Affairs: a Polish woman is among the hostages released by Hamas.

Israelis are waiting for the first hostages released by Hamas to return to their homes. Photo from November 24Jack Guez/AFP/EastNews

The truce may be extended

As Israeli media reported earlier, Israel said the truce could be extended by an additional day for every additional 10 hostages released – something US President Joe Biden hopes will happen.

Hamas abducted from Israel during attack on October 7 approximately 240 hostages, including 40 children. Over 1,200 people died, most of them civilians.

This attack sparked a war in the Gaza Strip. Israel is conducting a military operation against Hamas in this territory, which has already cost the lives of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

Main photo source: JACK GUEZ/AFP/EastNews

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