Israel-Palestine conflict: 7th hostage-prisoner exchange complete
Israel has freed 30 Palestinian prisoners following the release of more hostages taken by Hamas. It's the seventh day of such exchanges under a truce, set to expire on 1 Dec
Israel freed 30 Palestinian prisoners overnight, with many returning to Ramallah in the West Bank
This follows Hamas' release of hostages on Thursday
Truce between Israel and Hamas again set to expire; negotiators seeking deal for another day or more
Israel releases next group of 30 Palestinian prisoners
Israel's prison authorities said they released 30 Palestinian prisoners overnight Thursday, 30 November in the latest exchange as part of the truce deal with Hamas.
Their release followed the successful transfer of more Israeli hostages from Hamas captivity on Thursday.
In total, Hamas released eight hostages on Thursday. But another two Israeli-Russian dual nationals released on Wednesday were also taken into consideration when releasing 30 prisoners, according to Qatari mediators.
Israel and Hamas had agreed on a three-to-one exchange ratio for these swaps.
The bulk of the prisoners were sent to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and were greeted jubilantly on the city's streets.
It's the seventh such exchange on consecutive nights under the terms of the truce.
Cease-fire status for Friday still unclear
In the early hours of Friday, 1 December it was not clear if the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas would be extended further.
Negotiations on further hostage releases that could prolong the accord were ongoing.
Qatar, Egypt and the US helped broker the truce, originally for four days. It has subsequently been extended twice, first by two more days and then by another.
Visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Tel Aviv on Thursday that he was hoping talks would continue to bear fruit.
"Clearly we want to see this process continue to move forward," Blinken told reporters. "We want an eighth day and beyond."
Key developments on Thursday
The militant Islamist group Hamas and Israel largely held fire for a seventh day on Thursday after a last-minute extension to the truce mediated by Qatar.
Hamas handed over a total of eight Israeli hostages on Thursday, two earlier in the afternoon and six late at night. The last of them reached Israel around midnight local time.
Qatar said that Israel would release 30 Palestinian prisoners in exchange. This would equate to 10 hostages under the three-to-one ratio agreed between the two sides. Qatar said the discrepancy was taking into account two Israeli-Russian dual nationals, who Hamas had released on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by several countries, claimed responsibility for a shooting in Jerusalem on Thursday that killed three people.
And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visiting Israel for the third time since Hamas' October 7 attack, urged Israel to try to limit civilian casualties in Gaza if hostilities resume after the pause in fighting.
Published: 01 Dec 2023, 8:19 AM