Hamas will hand over eight hostages and three bodies to Israel today

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A Hamas official told the Qatar-owned Al-Araby channel that under the terms of today's ceasefire extension, Hamas will hand over the bodies of three Israelis to Israel.

Bassem Naim claims that the three, whose identities are still unknown, were killed during Israel's military operation in Gaza. He added that the terrorist group is willing to negotiate the release of Israeli citizens if the truce is extended and a new, comprehensive agreement is reached.

The Israeli government announced earlier that it has received a new "list" of the names of women and children held hostage in the Gaza Strip who are to be released within the day in exchange for the release of three times as many Palestinian prisoners.

In particular, eight hostages are to be released today by Hamas, after Israel and Hamas agreed on Thursday to extend their truce by one more day, minutes before it was due to expire. The truce in Gaza appeared increasingly fragile as the number of women and children held by the militants as a bargaining chip dwindled after dozens were freed.

Jewish media reported that two Russian-Israelis who had already been freed last night in a side deal with Moscow would count towards today's tally of 10 live hostages to be freed.

Hamas will hand over eight hostages and three bodies to Israel today - Negotiations continue
Yesterday, the process of releasing the hostages from Hamas and Israel continued. There are already 16 hostages on Israeli soil – including 12 Israelis and four Thais, while 30 Palestinian prisoners have been released in exchange. There had been incidents outside the prison where the Palestinians were being held and a raid by the Israeli army.

International pressure has mounted for the ceasefire to last as long as possible after nearly eight weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign in Gaza that have killed thousands of Palestinians, uprooted three-quarters of its 2,3 million population and led to a humanitarian crisis .

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel late Wednesday on his third trip to the region since the start of the war and is expected to push for further truce extensions and the release of more hostages.

Three dead in an attack by armed Palestinians in Jerusalem

Three people were killed this morning and many others were injured in an attack launched by two Palestinians on people waiting at a bus stop in Jerusalem, according to Israeli police.

"Two terrorists riding in a car and armed one with an M-16 and the other with a pistol" opened fire on citizens waiting at a bus stop around 07:40 (local time and Greek time), said the police director of Jerusalem Doron Torgeman to reporters from the scene of the attack.

Police said the attack was carried out by "two residents of East Jerusalem", two brothers in their 30s linked to Hamas who had previously been imprisoned in Israel. The two attackers "were quickly killed by two off-duty soldiers and a civilian, who fired at them," the same source explained.

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Negotiations for male hostages and soldiers intensify

The talks appear to be becoming increasingly difficult as most of the women and children held hostage by Hamas have already been released. The militants are expected to make greater demands in exchange for the release of men and soldiers. Israel says it will maintain the ceasefire until Hamas stops releasing prisoners, at which point it will resume its offensive to eliminate the group.

Hamas is deeply rooted in Palestinian society and has ruled Gaza since 2007. So far, the Israeli assault on Gaza appears to have had little effect on the group's dominance, evidenced by its ability to conduct complex negotiations, enforce ceasefires among other armed groups and to orchestrate the release of hostages.

Since the initial ceasefire began on Friday, both sides have only released women and children. Israeli officials say Gaza militants are still holding about 20 women, all of whom will be released within days if exchanges continue at their current rate. After that, holding the truce depends on tougher negotiations for the release of about 126 men Israel says are being held captive, including several dozen soldiers.

For men and especially soldiers, Hamas is expected to press for similar releases of Palestinian men or prominent prisoners, a deal Israel may resist. So far, most of the Palestinians who have been released are teenagers accused of throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails during clashes with Israeli forces. Several were women convicted by Israeli military courts of attempted assaults on soldiers.

An Israeli official involved in the hostage negotiations said talks to further extend the release of the male civilians and soldiers were still preliminary and that no deal would be considered until all the women and children were out.

Hamas will hand over eight hostages and three bodies to Israel today - Negotiations continue

With Wednesday's releases, a total of 73 Israelis, including dual nationals, have been released during the six-day truce, most of whom appear physically well but troubled. Another 24 hostages – 23 Thais and one Filipino – have also been released. Before the ceasefire, Hamas released four hostages and the Israeli army rescued one. Two others were found dead in Gaza.

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Hamas kidnapped around 240 people during the offensive in southern Israel, including infants, children, women, soldiers, the elderly and Thai land workers. It killed over 1.200 people in the October 7 attack, mostly civilians. Israel's shelling and ground invasion of Gaza have killed more than 13.300 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The tally is likely much higher, as officials have only sporadically updated the count since November 11 due to the collapse of services in the north. The ministry says thousands more people are missing and feared dead under the rubble. Israel says 77 of its soldiers have been killed in the ground attack. He claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing proof.

Source: ertnews.gr