KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — A move expected to release a second group of prisoners held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners captured by Israel was delayed hours Saturday because the militant group accused Israel of not accepting the terms of the deal. A last-minute ban on the second day of what was meant to be a four-day ceasefire created a tense standoff.
As of Saturday afternoon, everything seemed to be going according to plan. Aid trucks were entering Gaza Mediators to Qatar and EgyptAnd Israel’s prison service made lists for the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners.
But by nightfall, the hostages were supposed to be out of Gaza, with Hamas announcing it was delaying the release due to what it said were Israeli ceasefire violations. The group alleged that aid deliveries allowed by Israel were lower than promised and that northern Gaza, the center of Israel’s ground offensive and the main battle zone, did not receive enough aid. Hamas also said that not enough senior prisoners had been released in transfers since Friday.
“This puts the deal in jeopardy,” said Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Beirut.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the details of the exchange, there was some hope amid scenes of happy families reuniting on both sides. On the first day A four-day ceasefireHamas released 24 of the approximately 240 hostages it captured during that time October 7 attack Israel frees 39 Palestinians from prison over Israel inciting war 13 Israelis released in Gaza 10 from Thailand and one from the Philippines.
Earlier on Saturday, mediators gave conflicting reports on whether 13 or 14 hostages had been released. The number of Palestinian prisoners freed would be either 39 or 42, with three Palestinian prisoners to be released for every hostage taken under the deal.
In total, Hamas is set to release at least 50 Israeli hostages and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners – including women and minors – during the four-day ceasefire.
Israel has said the ceasefire could be extended an extra day for every 10 hostages released – US President Joe Biden said he was optimistic.
Separately, a Qatari delegation arrived in Israel on Saturday to coordinate with the parties on the ground and “ensure that the agreement continues to run smoothly,” a diplomatic official briefed on the visit said. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details with the media.
The start of the ceasefire brought the first peace to the 2.3 million Palestinians reeling from relentless Israeli bombardment that has killed thousands. Three-quarters of the population is motivated from their homes and Balanced residential areas. Gaza militants’ rocket attack on Israel calms down.
War-weary Palestinians in northern Gaza, the epicenter of Israel’s ground offensive, have returned to the streets, raking rubble between collapsed buildings, sometimes digging through it with their bare hands. At the Indonesian hospital in Jabaliya, which was besieged by the Israeli army earlier this month, bodies lay in the courtyard and outside the main gate.
For Emat Abu Hajar, a resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza City area, the suspension allowed him to search again for the remains of his home, which was leveled in an Israeli attack last week.
He found the bodies of his cousin and nephew, bringing the death toll in the attack to 19. With his sister and two cousins still missing, he continued digging on Saturday.
“We want to find them and give them a dignified burial,” he said.
The United Nations said the moratorium enabled it Increase food supplySince the resumption of aid convoys on October 21, water and medicine have been in huge quantities. It was able to deliver 129,000 liters (34,078 gallons) of fuel – 10% of the pre-war daily volume – as well as cooking gas, a first since the start of the war.
A long line of people with containers waited outside a filling station in the southern city of Khan Younis on Saturday. Hossam Fayyad lamented that the ceasefire was only for four days.
“I want it to be extended until people’s conditions improve,” he said.
For the first time in a month, aid reached northern Gaza. The Palestinian Red Cross said 61 trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies had arrived there on Saturday, the largest aid convoy yet to reach the area.
UN And the Palestinian Red Cross was able to evacuate 40 patients and family members from a hospital in Gaza City, where most of the fighting has taken place, to a hospital in Khan Younis.
However, the relief brought by the ceasefire has been limited. For the Israelis, indeed Not all hostages will be released. For the Palestinians, by the contraction of the pause.
At least two Palestinians were injured on Saturday at a tense West Bank checkpoint to release Israeli prisoners. Israeli security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinians gathered at the Beituniya checkpoint. It is not known how the two were injured.
The first hostages were released
In Tel Aviv, several thousand people packed a central square known as “Hostages’ Square” and awaited news of the second release.
“Don’t forget the rest, because it’s harder and harder and harder. It’s heartbreaking,” said Tel Aviv resident Neri Gershon. Some families blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government Not doing enough To bring home the hostages.
Among the freed Israelis were nine women and four children under the age of 9. They were taken to Israeli hospitals for observation and were reported to be in good condition.
Hours later, 24 Palestinian women and 15 teenage boys held in Israeli prisons in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem were freed. Adolescents have been jailed for petty crimes like stone pelting. Several women were also convicted of stabbing Israeli soldiers.
“It is a joy tinged with sadness, because our release from prison came at the cost of the lives of martyrs and the innocence of children,” said freed prisoner Aseel Munir al-Thiti.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group, Israel holds 7,200 Palestinians, including about 2,000 arrested since the war began.
A long silence?
The war broke out when several thousand Hamas fighters were present Attacked in southern IsraelKilled approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and many hostages, including children, women and the elderly, as well as soldiers.
“At the end of the ceasefire we will immediately go back to attacking Gaza and operating in Gaza,” Israeli Chief of Staff Herzei Halevi told troops.
Israeli leaders have said they will not stop until they crush Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for the past 16 years. Israeli officials argued that only military pressure could bring the hostages home. But the government is under pressure from hostages’ families to prioritize freeing the remaining prisoners.
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks Ministry of Health In the Gaza government run by Hamas. Women and children continue to account for two-thirds of the dead. This figure does not include the updated numbers of hospitals in the north Communication is broken.
Magdy reports from Cairo and Mroue from Beirut. Associated Press writer Julia Frankel in Jerusalem contributed.
Full AP coverage https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.