Hamas, Israel release more hostages, prisoners on fifth day of Gaza truce

Palestinians cheered just outside Ofer prison, in the West Bank checkpoint of Beitunia, as the new batch of prisoners drove past after their release and with the help of the International Red Cross on Wednesday night.

Israel said it freed 30 Palestinian detainees, 15 women and 15 teenage males, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, a semi-official organization.

Their release came as Hamas freed 12 more hostages on the fifth day of an extended six-day truce between the militant Palestinian group and Israel in the Gaza war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the 12 hostages had been transferred from Gaza, and Israel’s military confirmed that the 10 Israeli citizens and two foreign nationals were with its special forces on Israeli territory.

The truce has brought Gaza its first respite after seven weeks of fighting and bombardment that has reduced much of the Gaza Strip to rubble. It had been due to expire overnight into Tuesday but both sides agreed to extend the pause to allow for the release of more hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.