Status: 28.11.2023, 20:26 PM
People wave Israeli flags in Petach Tikva as a helicopter carrying hostages released by Hamas from the Gaza Strip lands (archive image). © Leo Correa/AP/dpa
On the fifth day of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, more Gaza hostages are released. There will also be an exchange on Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether the pause in fighting will be extended after that.
Gaza/Tel Aviv - The Islamist Hamas has handed over another group of hostages to the Red Cross as part of the ceasefire in the Gaza war. They were ten Israelis and two foreigners, the Israeli army said on Tuesday. In return, 30 more Palestinian prisoners are to be released. It was the fifth group of hostages released since the ceasefire began on Friday. Television images showed many frail-looking elderly women among those released. There was also a girl with her dog, which had been kidnapped with her.
Meanwhile, the relatives of previously released German-Israeli hostages commented on the condition of their family members. Of the people abducted from Israel to the Gaza Strip by terrorists on October 7, about 20 also had German citizenship.
The initial four-day ceasefire, which began on Friday morning, had been extended by two days under the conditions previously in place. This means that it could last until Thursday morning. It was initially unknown whether it would be extended again after that. In the background, however, there were efforts to expand it. As the German Press Agency learned, the heads of the US secret service CIA and the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad arrived in Doha on Tuesday for talks with the Qatari prime minister.
The threat to the ceasefire was demonstrated on Tuesday when there was an exchange of fire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army, Israeli soldiers were shot at, several were slightly wounded. They would have shot back. In addition, a total of three explosive devices exploded next to soldiers at two locations. Thus, the framework of the ceasefire was "violated", it said.
Hamas confirmed a confrontation with the Israeli army and accused Israel of violating the ceasefire. However, the terrorist organization stressed that it would continue to feel bound by the agreement as long as Israel also felt committed.
Efforts to extend the ceasefire
The talks in Doha between CIA Director William Burns and Mossad chief David Barnea as well as Qatar's Prime Minister Abdulrahman Al Thani are about expanding efforts to establish a ceasefire in the Gaza war, a person familiar with the talks in the Qatari capital told dpa on Tuesday. The next phases of a possible agreement were also on the agenda at the meeting, which was also to be attended by Egyptian representatives.
Qatar and Egypt, in consultation with the United States, have mediated between Israel and Hamas in recent weeks. Qatar in particular has very good contacts with Hamas, and the top Hamas leadership also lives in the emirate on the Gulf.
Since the ceasefire began, 69 of the approximately 240 hostages held in the Gaza Strip had been released by early Tuesday evening. Among them were a total of 51 Israelis, ten of whom also have German citizenship. In exchange for the released Israeli hostages, 150 Palestinians were released from prisons in Israel.
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Qatar: Can't confirm number of remaining hostages
According to the mediator Qatar, more hostages should also be released on Wednesday. Qatar could not definitively confirm figures on remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip. There are many estimates of this. "But we cannot confirm any of these figures," Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari said at a press conference on Tuesday. The Gulf emirate of Qatar is continuing its efforts to extend the ceasefire. The goal is a permanent ceasefire.
German Gaza hostages have "gone through trauma"
The family of several German-Israeli hostages, who were recently released, is now trying to find their way back to life, according to relatives. This is a long process for her aunt, her cousin and their two children, Shira Havron told the German Press Agency on Tuesday on the phone. "They've all been through trauma." However, Havron was not allowed to talk about the conditions and experiences of her relatives' captivity, according to her own statements.
The Islamist Hamas released their relatives on Saturday as part of the agreement with the Israeli government. The four have both Israeli and German citizenship. Her 67-year-old aunt Shoshan, her 38-year-old daughter Adi and their two children are doing well after their release from the Gaza Strip, Havron said. "But my cousin's husband is still being held there." Without the 38-year-old Tal, the picture would not be complete.
Hamas Calls for Global Solidarity Protests
The Islamist terrorist organization Hamas called for worldwide protests and solidarity marches with the people in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. She referred to the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is celebrated annually on 29 November. In the appeal circulated on Tuesday, Hamas accused Israel of war crimes in the Gaza war, which began on October 7.
The war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel's history, carried out by Hamas and other groups from the Gaza Strip on October 7 in Israel near the border. More than 1200 people were killed. About 240 hostages were taken to Gaza, including several Germans.
Israel responded with massive air strikes, a blockade of the Gaza Strip, and launched a ground offensive in late October. According to Hamas, nearly 15,000 people were killed. More than 36,000 were injured. The figures cannot be independently verified at this time. Dpa