In a significant development in the volatile Israel-Hamas conflict, 12 additional hostages, including an 84-year-old grandmother and an Arabic teacher, were released by Hamas. This move is a part of the ongoing ceasefire deal that started on Friday, which has already seen Israel releasing 147 Palestinian prisoners in return. The ceasefire has been extended until Wednesday, with hopes of further extending it till at least the end of this week.
The hostages, women aged between 17 and 84, include Gabriela Leimberg and her daughter Mia, Clara Marman, Ada Sagi, Ditza Heiman, Tamar Metzger, Noralin Agojo, Merav Tal, and Rimon Kirscht. Some of them, like Mia, were seen being released, whereas others, including Gabriela's partner, Luis Norberto Har, remain in Hamas' custody.
The hostages were kidnapped on 7th October while celebrating the Sukkot holiday. Since then, various organizations and family members have been advocating for their release, emphasizing their individual stories and contributions to their communities. The recent release has brought a glimmer of hope in the grim situation, but the uncertainty looms large as the ceasefire's fate is still hanging in the balance.
Ceasefire and its implications
Despite Israel and Hamas accusing each other of violating the ceasefire terms, it has so far held, enabling the release of hostages from both sides. The decision to extend the truce has created short-term benefits but has also increased uncertainty about Israel's future actions in Gaza. Nonetheless, the ceasefire has given respite to the residents who remained in Gaza City and other parts of the north, allowing them to venture out, survey the destruction, and try to locate and bury relatives.