“We are ready to free more hostages in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire” for more days. The Hamas spokesman said he hoped it would be implemented on Wednesday. Israeli media, citing the prime minister’s office, reported that Israel received a list from Hamas with the names of hostages to be released. No comment could be received from the Israeli government.
Hamas and Israel had previously extended the ceasefire, which was initially scheduled to last four days, by two days. This means that it would probably expire on Thursday morning without another extension. According to the parties’ original agreement, the ceasefire could be extended to a maximum of ten days to allow for the further release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners.
Israel had announced that the ceasefire could be further extended if Hamas continued to release at least ten Israeli hostages per day. On Tuesday evening, the Islamists released ten Israelis and two foreigners, including a 75-year-old woman whose application for Austrian citizenship is about to be finalized. She was married to an Austrian man who has since died. A short time later, Israel released 30 Palestinians from Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank and an internment camp in Jerusalem.
A senior member of the Islamist Hamas announced on Wednesday the release of two female hostages with Russian nationality. Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marsuk told a Gaza radio station that the release was outside the agreement with Israel and as a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The women are to be released on Wednesday in addition to ten Israeli hostages.
The Israeli hostages are to be released in return for the release of 30 other Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Hamas had already released a 25-year-old Israeli-Russian dual citizen without compensation on Sunday. So far, Hamas has released 81 Israelis and foreigners in exchange for 180 Palestinian prisoners. According to Israeli information, more than 150 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip, including a ten-month-old baby.
The hostages were among about 240 people abducted by Hamas militants in their surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7. According to Israeli information, around 1,200 people were killed. According to an insider, there is now talk of not only releasing women and children among the hostages as before, but also men and members of the Israeli military.
According to its Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the USA is trying to further extend the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This would mean more hostages could come home, Blinken told the press in Brussels after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. In addition, more aid for the civilian population would reach the Gaza Strip. “It’s clearly something we want. I think it’s something Israel wants too.” He will work with the Israeli side during his trip to Israel in the coming days to push for an extension of the ceasefire.