29 February 2024,   13:33
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Eleven Israeli children and mothers were released from Hamas captivity

Eleven Israeli children and mothers were released from Hamas captivity Monday night, arriving in Israel after several hours of uncertainty over the fate of a deal for their freedom. They were freed amid ongoing intense diplomatic efforts to extend the four-day humanitarian pause in Gaza, which began on Friday, for two more days.

The group was originally slated to be the last of four scheduled groups of hostages freed as part of a deal for the release of 50 Israeli women and children kidnapped by the Hamas terror group on October 7. However, hours before they were transferred to the Red Cross, Qatar announced that a deal had been reached to extend the truce by two days, paving the way for 20 more hostages to be released. Israel had not confirmed this deal as of late Monday.

Israel agreed to free 150 Palestinians serving time in Israeli prison for security offenses as part of the initial truce, and released 33 women and young men to the West Bank and East Jerusalem on Monday night. A two-day extension may see another 60 inmates freed.

According to an Egyptian report, another six Thai citizens were also slated to be released from Hamas captivity in Gaza on Monday evening, as part of a separate agreement not involving Israel - but there was no word of any such transfer late Monday.

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