11 Israeli hostages freed from Gaza after snag on 4th day of truce

The delay according to one Israeli official was that Hamas wasn’t releasing the full group of mothers with their children as it had previously promised.

By JNS

Following an hours-long delay, Hamas released 11 Israelis held in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the fourth day of a truce between Jerusalem and the Palestinian terrorist organization.

The news of the hostages’ release came after Qatari mediators worked to resolve “issues” with the lists of Israeli captives and Palestinian terrorists to be released, an official briefed on the matter told Reuters.

CNN cited an Israeli official as saying there were “a number” of problems with Monday’s lists, one being that they did not contain any mothers. Under the terms of the deal, Hamas agreed that mothers would not be separated from their children, according to Jerusalem.

Two other sources familiar with the matter said at least one mother was included, just not the full group of mothers anticipated.

Saturday’s list did not include 12-year-old Hila Rotem Shoshani’s mother, Raya Rotem. Also, Mia Regev, 21, was freed without her 18-year-old brother Itai.

Under the four-day ceasefire that began on Friday morning, Hamas has now freed a total of 50 Israeli women and children. The terror group released an “extra” Israeli hostage on Sunday, a man with dual Russian citizenship, in a gesture to President Vladimir Putin.

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Hamas also released a total of 19 foreign nationals in a side deal with Thailand.

In addition to temporarily pausing its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, Israel agreed to release some 150 female and teenage Palestinian security prisoners, many of whom are affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Hamas kidnapped some 240 people during its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel, during which thousands of heavily armed gunmen murdered some 1,200 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.

In a statement on Sunday, the Gaza-based terrorist group said that it was seeking to extend the truce beyond the four-day period if Israel makes a “serious effort” to increase the number of Palestinian terrorists released from prison.

On Monday night, U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said that Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the ceasefire-for-hostages agreement by two days.

“The humanitarian pause in Gaza, now in its fourth day, will be extended for another two days, through Thursday morning Israel time,” Kirby told journalists during a briefing.

“In order to extend the pause, Hamas has committed to releasing another 20 women and children,” added the spokesman.

The announcement came shortly after a spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said that “as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian pause for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.”

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The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem told JNS earlier on Monday that Jerusalem is not publicly discussing whether the four-day ceasefire with Hamas will be extended or if not, when it will officially end.

Army Radio reported on Monday that Israel believes that Hamas is holding at least 20 more mothers, children, and elderly women. According to the report, Islamic Jihad handed over to Hamas most of the mothers, children, and elderly women it was holding captive.