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HomeNewsNational NewsHamas frees hostages amid talks on possible extension of Gaza ceasefire

Hamas frees hostages amid talks on possible extension of Gaza ceasefire

On Tuesday, Hamas released an additional 10 Israeli hostages and two Thai nationals as part of an agreed-upon extension of the pause in fighting with Israel in Gaza. CIA director Bill Burns is in talks with Mossad director David Barnea, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani to potentially extend the pause further if more hostages are released by Hamas. The meeting involves efforts by Qatar, Egypt, the U.S., and Israel to maximize the current deal, possibly extending the pause by up to three more days, releasing an additional 10 hostages per day, with a goal of reaching a total of 100 released Israeli hostages.

Without an extension, the current pause is set to end by the close of Wednesday. Sources suggest that discussions are underway to explore a new deal that could involve the release of men and soldiers held hostage by Hamas. Mossad’s director emphasized to his counterparts that Israel will not engage in talks on a new hostage deal until the current one is fully implemented, with all women and children released.

Israel estimates that 30 to 40 women and children, including about 20 women aged 21 to 50, are still held by Hamas, and it anticipates their release in the coming days as part of a potential extension of the pause. The release of 30 Palestinians from Israeli prisons is also expected on Tuesday. This follows the previous release of 50 Israeli hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners during the initial four-day pause.

As part of the extension, Israel continues to permit more fuel and an increased number of aid-carrying trucks into Gaza. Notable releases include a 4-year-old Israeli American, Abigail Edan. Additionally, separate agreements led to the release of over a dozen Thai nationals, one Filipino, and one Russian Israeli by Hamas.

The total number of people abducted during the October 7 terrorist attack exceeds 240, with at least 1,200 reported killed, according to Israeli officials. Four hostages, including two Americans, were previously freed, one rescued, and two found dead. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated on Monday that U.S. officials believe seven to nine Americans are still held hostage in Gaza.

The temporary halt in fighting has provided relief for over 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza, who have been under intense bombardment by Israel since the start of the war. Despite the increased aid levels, aid groups caution that it remains insufficient to address the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where at least 14,800 Palestinians have been reported killed, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

By: Montana Newsroom Staff

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