Monday, February 26, 2024

A third exchange of prisoners between Hamas and Israel and completion of efforts to extend the ceasefire


On Sunday evening, the process of exchanging the third batch of prisoners and detainees as part of a humanitarian ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas was completed, while the movement that controls the Gaza Strip announced its bid to extend the ceasefire. Number of Palestinians released from Israeli prisons.

The Israeli military announced that 14 Israeli prisoners and 3 foreigners held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attack on Israel have been handed over to the Red Cross. In a statement issued on the third day of the cease-fire agreement, the military said: “According to information received from the Red Cross, 14 Israeli hostages and three foreign hostages were transferred to the Red Cross.

Hamas, for its part, confirmed that it had handed over 13 Israeli prisoners, three Thais and one Russian to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Today, Sunday, the Israeli Prison Administration announced the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners under a temporary ceasefire agreement between the Hamas movement and Israel, which took effect on Friday and continues until Monday.

Palestinian television said the bus of those freed from Israel had left the Ofer prison on its way to Ramallah in the West Bank.

Egypt had earlier announced that it had received a list of the names of 13 Israeli hostages held by Hamas, who were to be exchanged for 38 Palestinian prisoners in Israel on Sunday.

Egypt received a list of names of 13 Israelis and 39 Palestinians, Tia Rashwan, head of the Egyptian Information Service, said in a statement and Qatar.

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Amid expectations that at least one American woman will feature on the list.

According to Reuters, the ceasefire continues without interruption and 120 aid trucks entered Gaza from Egypt on Sunday, including two trucks for fuel and two trucks for cooking gas.

Yesterday (Friday) Hamas released the first group of 24 people, including 13 Israelis and 11 foreigners. In return, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners from its prisons.

On the second day, Hamas released a second group of 17 prisoners in exchange for the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Sunday marked the third day of a four-day ceasefire between Israeli forces and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Palestinian prisoners after being released from an Israeli prison as part of an exchange deal (Reuters)

American hostage

US President Joe Biden has announced that Hamas has released a four-year-old girl, Abigail, who was held hostage by the United States. In a speech from Massachusetts, Biden said, “She is free and in Israel,” and commented that “she is going through a terrible shock.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC News there was reason to believe Hamas would release at least one American woman on Sunday. In an interview with “Meet the Press,” she said, “The original agreement called for the release of children and women, and we have three American women who fit this classification: two women and one woman.” He continued: “We have reason to believe that one of these people will be released today, but until we confirm her safe exit from Gaza and she is in the custody of the authorities, and ultimately with her family, we will not be sure, but we only have reason to believe.” “One will be freed today.”

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Humanitarian aid

As for humanitarian aid and relief trucks, the Egyptian Red Cross said in a statement that 80 humanitarian and medical aid trucks and seven fuel trucks, including four trucks carrying household gas, crossed the Rafah border into the Gaza Strip. Khalid Said, head of the Egyptian Red Cross in North Sinai, said 200 aid trucks were scheduled to enter Gaza within the framework of a mechanism agreed upon during the ceasefire. He said a high-level Qatari delegation headed by Lulwa Al Qader, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the Government of Qatar, entered the Gaza Strip on a short humanitarian mission and visited the Qatar Relief Center in Gaza. several hours.

Violation of ceasefire

A farmer was killed and another wounded by bullets from Israeli forces in the central Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Red Cross said in the second violation of the declared ceasefire recorded today on Sunday. In a statement carried by the Palestinian News Agency, the association added that Israeli forces targeted two farmers working on their land east of al-Maqassi camp in the Central Governorate, killing one of them and injuring the other. It also indicated that seven Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces’ bullets on Sunday near the “Al-Quds Hospital” in Tal al-Hawa, west of Gaza City, and the “Indonesian Hospital” in the city. Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on the third day of a temporary humanitarian ceasefire. A “humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip came into effect at 7am last Friday after a military conflict that has been ongoing since October 7.

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Armistice extension

Hamas said in a statement that it would seek to extend the cease-fire after the four-day period through “intensive” research to increase the number of freed prisoners, as stipulated in the humanitarian ceasefire agreement.

Informed sources told the Arab World News Agency on Sunday that Egyptian and Qatari mediators have resumed talks with the Israeli side and Hamas to extend a ceasefire agreement between the two sides that expires on Tuesday morning.

According to Arab sources familiar with the negotiation file, the current proposal is to extend it by another four days in exchange for the release of about 50 Israelis detained in the Gaza Strip and 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Agreed on the current armistice.

According to sources cited by the Arab World News Agency, the US is pressing Israel to reach such an agreement, and Washington has asked Egyptian and Qatari mediators to play the same role with the Hamas movement.

A source said: “If there are no particularly technical obstacles for Hamas to reach Israeli prisoners, I expect the process of extending the ceasefire period to additional days to succeed.”

The source indicated that the commitment of both sides to the ceasefire was huge, despite some delays and some violations in the procedures, which he described as “minor”.

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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