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Fragile Truce Holds as More Hostages and Prisoners Set to be Freed

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Fragile Truce Holds As More Hostages And Prisoners Set To Be Freed

A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas continues to hold, as more hostages and prisoners are set to be freed. After seven weeks in captivity, 24 hostages were released in a delicate exchange. Thirteen Israeli mothers and children, along with one Filipino national, were released in exchange for 39 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. The prisoners included 24 women, some of whom were convicted of attempted murder, and 15 teenagers imprisoned for offenses such as stone-throwing. Additional hostages and prisoners are expected to be released in the coming days.

The truce, brokered by Qatar, originally called for the release of 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for 150 jailed Palestinians. However, it is important to note that the count did not include foreign hostages. As the truce enters its second day, both sides have agreed to release additional hostages and prisoners. Hamas will release 14 Israeli hostages in exchange for Israel freeing 42 Palestinian prisoners, according to a senior Egyptian official.

The release of the hostages was met with relief, as they were transported out of Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing. The released Israelis were then taken to medical facilities in Israel and reunited with their families. The International Red Cross provided support throughout the process, accompanying the hostages to the crossing. The hostages were reported to be in good physical condition.

In addition to the exchange, the truce has also allowed for increased shipments of fuel and supplies into Gaza. However, aid groups note that the current amount is still not sufficient to meet the needs of the 2.3 million Palestinians who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment. Israel has agreed to allow the delivery of 130,000 liters of fuel per day for humanitarian purposes.

The news of the hostages’ release was welcomed by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who expressed the importance of continuing efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire. Foreign Minister Penny Wong reiterated her call for the release of all hostages. The Australian Palestine Advocacy Network and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry also shared their reactions, with the former welcoming the release of Palestinian hostages and prisoners and the latter expressing mixed emotions about the return of the Israeli hostages.

Rachel Adams

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