Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed that six Israeli hostages who were held in the Gaza Strip have been released and returned to Israel on Thursday. This comes just hours before the truce extension was set to expire.
The group of released hostages consists of four adults, a 17-year-old girl, and an 18-year-old man. Mediator Qatar stated that among them were individuals with dual nationality from Uruguay, Mexico, and Russia. Earlier in the day, two women, including a French-Israeli dual national, were also released.
With these additional releases, a total of eight hostages have been freed on Thursday. However, the truce agreement specifies that a minimum of ten Israeli hostages should be released alive each day.
There is a discrepancy regarding the number of hostages released compared to the truce agreement. Mediators are currently engaged in discussions to extend the truce, which was originally scheduled to end on Friday at 0500 GMT.
According to a source close to Hamas, they consider the two Russian-Israeli women released on Wednesday, in addition to the required ten, as part of the seventh group of freed hostages. As a result, they believe that the number of hostages in the seventh group is ten.
Mediator Qatar seems to support this calculation. The truce agreement mandates Israel to release three Palestinian prisoners for every hostage freed. Qatari foreign ministry spokesman, Majed Al Ansari, stated that in exchange for a total of ten hostages, including “two Russian citizens who were released yesterday,” thirty Palestinians would be released from Israeli prisons.
The situation is still developing, and further updates are awaited.