Home Opinion Special Reports 2nd batch of prisoner-hostage swap between Israel and Hamas ends

2nd batch of prisoner-hostage swap between Israel and Hamas ends

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Israeli-occupied Palestinian
Israeli-occupied Palestinian

About three dozen Palestinian prisoners released by Israel arrived in the West Bank on Sunday, following Hamas’ release of 17 hostages in the second round of swaps under a cease-fire deal.

Late on Saturday, Israel received the second batch of hostages released from the Gaza Strip, including 13 Israelis and four Thais, who had crossed into Egypt and were en route to Israel, confirmed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a post on its X account.

“After undergoing an initial medical assessment, they will continue to be accompanied by IDF soldiers as they make their way to Israeli hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families,” said the IDF.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Sunday that the Thais in the latest release were in good health.

“Everybody is safe, on the whole in good mental health and are able to speak normally,” said the prime minister via social media X.

As part of the ongoing prisoner-hostage swap agreement with Hamas, Israel released 39 Palestinians — six women and 33 minors — from two prisons, reported the Palestinian news agency WAFA on Sunday.

The swap was scheduled for around 4 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Saturday. It was delayed for several hours after Hamas accused Israel of failing to meet the terms of a four-day humanitarian cease-fire agreement, which was agreed upon by the two sides on Wednesday after more than six weeks of bloody conflicts.

A Palestinian source told Xinhua that Hamas was expecting the delivery of “large quantities” of humanitarian aid to Gaza City and the rest of the northern part of the Gaza Strip, rather than providing supplies to the southern part of the enclave only.

Hamas also demands that the Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israel should include those from the Gaza Strip, said the source.

Taher al-Nono, an advisor to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said Israel had breached the agreement, particularly with regard to the entry of humanitarian aid trucks.

An Israeli official threatened that if the second group of Israeli hostages is not released by Hamas before midnight, the Israeli army will “restart ground operations” in the Gaza Strip, Israeli media outlets have reported, without providing further details.

The “obstacles” were later solved through “Qatari-Egyptian contacts with both sides,” Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari announced on Saturday night.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced early Sunday that it had received a new list of hostages slated to be released later in the day in the third of four scheduled swaps.

Under the mediation by Qatar and Egypt, Hamas and Israel on Wednesday agreed to a four-day humanitarian cease-fire to force a temporary halt to the fighting between the two sides. After the truce deal went into effect Friday, Hamas released 24 hostages, including 13 Israelis, 10 Thai, and one Filipino, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian prisoners. The release of non-Israeli nationals was not part of the truce deal.

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