(CTN News) – On Tuesday, a fresh batch of hostages was liberated from captivity in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, all while mediators were diligently working towards achieving a lasting ceasefire to bring an end to the Israel-Hamas war that had persisted for seven weeks.
According to the army, ten Israelis and two foreigners were handed over to the Red Cross and were safely transported to Israeli territory.
In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, an AFP journalist witnessed masked and armed men delivering the released hostages to Red Cross officials.
The temporary cessation of hostilities and the subsequent release of captives were met with praise from international figures, who viewed these developments as a glimmer of hope in the conflict that had been ignited by Hamas attacks, ultimately leading to an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Israel and Hamas accuse each other of violating the truce, but Qatari officials say it remains intact. US and Israeli intelligence chiefs meet in Qatar to discuss the next phase of the deal. Both sides are under pressure to avoid all-out fighting when the truce ends on Thursday.
A source close to Hamas says 10 Israeli hostages will be released in exchange for 30 prisoners. The truce has temporarily halted the fighting that began on October 7, resulting in numerous deaths and kidnappings.
According to the health ministry, the recent ground and air operation carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip has resulted in the deaths of nearly 15,000 individuals, with the majority being innocent civilians.
Palestinian groups have accused Israel of violating the ceasefire, with reports of an Israeli tank firing warning shots in the Sheikh Radwan area of Gaza City as Palestinians attempted to return to their homes.
The Israeli military has defended the action, claiming that the tank fired in response to suspected militants approaching army positions, resulting in at least one person being injured.
During a news conference, Majed Al Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, stated that there were only minor breaches in the agreement which did not affect its essence. Meanwhile, the Israeli bombardments in Gaza have caused significant damage to buildings and forced residents to flee their homes.
Umm Mohammed, one of the displaced residents, expressed hope that the truce would lead to a complete ceasefire and that she would be able to return to her home one day.