The Israeli military says 11 hostages have been released by the Palestinian armed group Hamas and are on their way to Israel, the latest in a series of exchanges during a four-day humanitarian pause.
“Based on information that was received from the Red Cross, 11 hostages are currently on their way to Israeli territory,” the Israeli military said in a statement on Monday.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, which has played a key role in mediation efforts, said those released were six Argentinians, three French citizens and two Germans.
The release of the hostages, some of the roughly 240 people taken captive by Hamas in deadly attacks on southern Israel on October 7, comes after Qatar and Hamas said that an agreement has been reached to further extend the initial four-day truce.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Israel and Hamas had reached a deal to extend their truce for an additional two days, offering much-needed respite for Palestinians in Gaza, who have been exhausted by weeks of relentless Israeli bombardment, and hope for Israelis with loved ones held captive who they hope to see return home.
Over the past several days, Palestinian groups in Gaza have released captives in exchange for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, many of whom are women and children who have been held without trial.
On Sunday, Hamas released 17 more captives – 14 Israelis and three Thais – the highest number so far. The total number of captives released since fighting began on October 7 now stands at 62, most of them since the temporary pause in the fighting began on Friday.
Israel has said that it will extend the truce by one day for every 10 hostages released, and Hamas has said it has agreed to an extended truce under “the same terms” as the original deal.
The pause in fighting has also allowed for increased shipments of aid into the Gaza Strip, where a relentless Israeli assault and siege of the territory has created a dire humanitarian crisis.