Israel-Hamas war: 17 more hostages released, Hamas willing to extend truce

Hamas on Sunday (Nov 26) released 17 more hostages in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners who were freed from Israeli prisons. This was the third round of prisoner-hostage exchange since Israel and Hamas entered into a four-day ceasefire on Friday. A source close to Hamas told the news agency AFP that the Palestinian militant group was willing to extend the truce for two to four days beyond its initial expiry on Monday. 

“Hamas informed the mediators that the resistance movements were willing to extend the current truce by two to four days. The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners,” the source said.

There have been international calls to extend the ceasefire which has also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Here’s a look at the top developments in the Israel-Hamas war:

A total of 17 hostages were released on Sunday which included 13 Israelis, three Thai nationals, and a Russian-Israeli dual citizen. In a statement, the Israeli army said that 13 released hostages were back on Israeli territory and another four arrived in Egypt.

> The army said that Twelve were headed to a military base near the southern city of Beersheva accompanied by Israeli special forces, while one had been flown directly to hospital.

> Also on Sunday, a four-year-old American girl Abigail Edan was released by Hamas. US President Joe Biden said Edan witnessed her parents being killed by Hamas fighters during their Oct 7 raid into Israel and had been held since then. “What she endured is unthinkable,” President Biden told reporters and hoped that the truce extends beyond Monday.

> The Israeli prison service said that 39 Palestinian prisoners were freed from jails as part of the truce agreement.

> Under the four-day-long truce which started on Friday, 50 of the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas will be freed over four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, with a built-in extension mechanism to prolong the process as long as at least 10 Israeli captives are released each day.

> However, the truce deal might extend which would facilitate the release of more hostages and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

> Hamas announced on Saturday that the commander of its northern brigade Ahmed Al-Ghandour and four other senior leaders were killed in the Israeli offensive. A report by AFP said that Ghandour had been jailed in Israel twice and reportedly lost two of his sons in Israeli airstrikes during the current war.

> The above development comes as the Palestinian health ministry said earlier on Sunday that Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians over 24 hours in the occupied West Bank. 

> Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid his first visit to the Gaza Strip since the conflict began. Prime Minister Netanyahu met troops in the war-torn region and said that Israel has the power, will, strength, and determination to achieve all the goals of the conflict.

> “I am not here to say to my friends here, to the fighters here, who tell me the same things, and I repeat this to you, citizens of Israel: we continue until the end – until victory. Nothing will stop us,” Netanyahu added.

(With inputs from agencies)


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