Qatari officials said on Monday that Hamas has released another group of hostages to the custody of the Red Cross. shortly after officials announced an agreement between the Palestinian group and Israel to extend a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip for another two days. Qatar, who has been mediating between Israel and Hamas, announced the two-day extension of the temporary cease-fire, which was initially set to last four days, ending on Monday. Al-Ansari said in a social media post: “The State of Qatar announces that, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.”
According to information provided by the Red Cross, Israel’s military said that 11 hostages are on their way to Israeli territory. Spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Majed Al-Ansari said the group includes 3 French citizens, 2 German citizens and 6 Argentinian citizens. In exchange, Al-Ansari said, Israel is releasing 33 Palestinians — 30 minors and 3 women — from Israeli prisons.
At a news briefing held shortly after Qatar’s announcement at the White House, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby later confirmed the extension. Kirby said Hamas had agreed to release 20 additional hostages being held in Gaza back to Israel over the next two days, and added that they are working to extend the cease-fire further than that.
Under the terms of the temporary truce deal, Hamas agreed to release at least 50 women and children kidnapped in Israel during the Oct. 7 rampage and held captive since then in Gaza. Israel, in turn, agreed to free about 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, while also honoring a cease-fire in the interim.
The original terms of the short-term deal originally called for a four-day cease-fire, however, Israel had said publicly that it would be willing to extend the pause for an additional day for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas.
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