Israel-Hamas war: Second group of hostages to be freed soon

A white-haired woman was seen too weak to walk the short distance between vehicles.

Hamas fighters were set on Sunday to release a third group of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, a day after freeing 17 captives.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it had received a list of the hostages due to be released, Agence France-Presse reports.

The list was being checked by security officials, it said, and families of the hostages had been informed.

In a sign of the fragility of the exchanges, the last swap – on Saturday – delayed for hours after Hamas accused Israel of breaching its side of the deal that led to a four-day ceasefire.

Despite the dispute, Hamas released 13 Israelis and four Thai hostages late that night, officials said. Israel said it in turn freed 39 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas fighters have delayed the release of a new wave of hostages Saturday in exchange for Palestinian prisoners until Israel complies with a truce agreement, in a bitter blow to relatives.

The second group was set to be released from Hamas custody at around 4pm local time, but two hours later IDF announced the hostages were being transferred to the Red Cross. Shortly after, Hamas claimed that the release was being delayed due to “Israeli violations” of a ceasefire deal.

The Palestinian militant group’s armed wing said the issues of aid deliveries to the northern Gaza Strip and the selection criteria for prisoner releases were holding up the handover.

Israel on Saturday denied that it had violated the truce agreement and vowed to continue the war to eliminate Hamas when the pause in fighting ends.

“We will return immediately at the end of the ceasefire to attack Gaza,” Israeli chief of staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said.

Hamas today handed back 13 Israeli women and kids – including Ohad Munder.

“We will also do this in order to dismantle Hamas, also to create a great deal of pressure to return as quickly as possible and as many abductees as possible, every last one of them.”

The swap is being orchestrated as part of a temporary Israel-Gaza truce.

A four-day ceasefire came into effect on Friday and largely silenced the guns on both sides.

Israeli prison authorities said 42 Palestinian inmates – both male and female – would be freed under the terms of the agreement, which mandates exchanges at a ratio of three to one.

It comes after video emerged of the first group of terrified women and children being handed over by Hamas to the Red Cross.

The group included 13 Israeli hostages, 10 Thais and one Filipino, and Israel in turn freed 39 women and children from its prisons.

“It’s only a start, but so far it’s gone well,” US President Joe Biden told reporters in Massachusetts.

In the footage an elderly woman could be seen being carried by a Hamas soldier the short distance between the two vehicles, unable to walk.

Another looked visibly distressed as she was ushered by Hamas towards the Red Cross.

A young boy, nine-year-old Ohad Munder, could be seen being led towards Red Cross medical staff.

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