Majed al Ansari, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, the mediating country in the agreement between the Islamist group Hamas and Israel, stated that after “a delay” a second exchange of Israeli hostages with Palestinian prisoners will be carried out today by “overcoming the obstacles.” ” which caused Hamas to delay the exchange.
“Following a delay in implementing the release of prisoners from both sides, obstacles were overcome through Qatari-Egyptian communications with both sides, and tonight 39 Palestinian civilians will be released in exchange for the release of 13 Israeli detainees from Gaza in addition to 7 foreigners outside the framework of the agreement,” stated the Qatari official on his official X account (formerly Twitter).
Among those released from Israeli prisons there are “33 children and 6 women,” while the Israeli hostages held by Hamas who will be released are 8 children and 5 women, in addition to the 7 foreigners, of whom he did not give details.
An Egyptian official assured EFE that the vehicles of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have already begun to move to receive the hostages.
Hamas delayed the handover of a second batch of hostages, scheduled for 2 p.m. GMT, and accused Israel of violating the terms of the agreement they reached regarding the entry of humanitarian aid and the release of older Palestinian prisoners in prisons.
After several hours of silence following that Hamas announcement, the Israeli Government reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carried out this afternoon “an assessment of the situation with all security elements to verify that the second phase is progressing as planned.”
According to Hebrew media, Israel had threatened the Islamist group to resume the military offensive in Gaza if it does not release the second batch of captives before midnight.
The parties agreed this week, with the mediation of Egypt, Qatar and the United States, to exchange 50 Israeli hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners, during four days of truce, and the entry of 200 trucks of humanitarian aid daily into the Gaza Strip.
The Islamist group regretted that the aid that has reached the north of the Strip has been “much less than agreed upon,” accusing Israel of not meeting the seniority criterion when releasing yesterday’s 39 prisoners; as well as violating the truce by shooting two Gazans dead when they tried to visit their homes in the north of the enclave taking advantage of the pause in the fighting.