Hamas releases 10 Israeli and four Thai hostages as truce clock runs down

As mediators worked to the last minute to extend the truce in Gaza, another 14 hostages were released by Hamas in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners, ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine reports

  • The four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was extended by two days. It is due to expire on Wednesday, though officials have now said it is 'highly likely' the truce will be extended again.

  • Since Friday, Hamas has released 93 hostages, mostly Israeli nationals, while Israel has freed 180 Palestinian prisoners, with more expected to follow as part of Wednesday's exchange.

  • More than 15,000 Palestinians have died since the start of the war, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. The figure includes 6,150 children and 4,000 women.

  • At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel during Hamas' attack on October 7.

The Red Cross has received a sixth exchange of hostages, as 10 Israeli and four Thai hostages have been released by Hamas, the Israeli military said, citing the organisation.

The hostages arrived in Israeli territory after passing from Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing.

Two Russian-Israeli women who were being held captive by Hamas have also been freed and are back in Israel, according to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The pair's release, earlier on Wednesday, was not part of Israel's hostage deal with Hamas and came as a result of pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It was expected that the release of the Israeli hostages on Wednesday would be followed by the freeing of 30 Palestinian prisoners.

Here are the names of the Israeli hostages released, according to families' organisation:

  • Gali Tarshchanski, 13

  • Ofir Engel, 17

  • Amit Shani, 16

  • Itai Regev, 18

  • Yordan Roman, 36

  • Raya Rotem, 54

  • Raz Ben Ami, 57

  • Moran Stella Yanai, 40

  • Liat Atzili, 49

  • Liam Or, 18

Two Russian-Israeli women were also released by Hamas as part of a separate deal:

  • Yelena Trupanob, 50

  • Irena Tati, 73

Four Thai nationals were also released, but their names have not been made public.

International mediators are pushing to extend the truce in Gaza, encouraging Hamas to continue freeing hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners as the agreed ceasefire enters its final hours.

The temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is due to end on Wednesday, though hopes have been raised for an extension as negotiators work to allow more hostages to be released and aid to be sent into Gaza.

The latest swap of Hamas-held hostages for Palestinians detained by Israel took place on Tuesday evening as part of a ceasefire agreement between the warring sides.

Ten Israeli hostages — nine women and a 17-year-old girl — and two Thais were handed over to the Red Cross in Gaza on Tuesday and were back in Israeli territory, the military said.

Shortly before 6pm, an Israeli official said two Israeli abductees had been released to the Red Cross - who have been ferrying hostages and prisoners - in addition to Wednesday's list.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their ceasefire until Wednesday after an initial four-day pause.

Palestinians visit their houses destroyed in the Israeli bombings. Credit: AP

Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s state information services, said negotiations to extend the ceasefire and release more hostages have made progress and that it is "highly likely" another extension will be announced Wednesday.

Egypt, along with Qatar and the US, played a key role in mediating the original ceasefire and a two-day extension announced Monday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who plans to visit the region this week, said on Wednesday that the US would like to see an extension of the truce, the release of more hostages, and the delivery of more humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, he said he also wanted to discuss post-war arrangements for Gaza.

Since Friday, Hamas has released 81 hostages, mostly Israeli nationals, while Israel has freed 180 Palestinian detainees.

Most of the detainees have been teenagers accused of throwing stones and firebombs during confrontations with Israeli forces.

Israelis celebrate as a helicopter carrying hostages released from the Gaza Strip lands in Israel. Credit: AP

A joint statement from foreign ministers of the G7 group of wealthy democracies, which includes close allies of Israel, called for the “further extension of the pause” and for “protecting civilians and compliance with international law.”

An extended ceasefire would allow more aid into Gaza, which has been battered by weeks of Israeli siege and bombardment that has driven three out of every four people in Gaza from their homes. The territory is home to 2.3 million people.

The ceasefire to this point has brought calm to Gaza and increased deliveries of humanitarian aid, allowing people to stock up on food, water and fuel after weeks of severe shortages.

The situation is so dire that the World Heath Organization has warned more people could die from disease than from bombing if Gaza's health care system is not repaired.

"Everybody everywhere has dire health needs now because they're starving because they lack clean water and (they’re) crowded together," WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said on Tuesday.

Israel says it remains committed to crushing Hamas’ military capabilities and ending the group's 16-year rule over Gaza. That would likely mean expanding a ground offensive from devastated northern Gaza into the south.

Nearly 80% of the territory’s population has been displaced, and most have sought refuge in the south, according to the United Nations.

About 240 hostages were captured by Hamas in its October 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war.

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