Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gaza truce: Second batch of prisoners released after much delay

39 Palestinian prisoners were released in the early hours of Sunday after much delay due to Israel’s violation of agreed terms as part of the four-day humanitarian pause in the war on Gaza.

Hamas also released 13 Israeli and four Thai detainees who left Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

The exchange on the second day was delayed for hours over Hamas’s allegations that Israel was violating the truce deal by not letting aid enter Northern Gaza.

Freed Palestinian prisoners, all of them women and children, were greeted with celebrations by large crowds despite strict warnings from Israel against it.

Palestinians in the West Bank thanked Gaza and the resistance for the prison exchange.

Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan had said earlier that the aid deliveries permitted by Israel had fallen short of what had been promised and were not reaching northern Gaza, which was the target of Israel’s offensive.

Only 65 of 340 aid trucks that had entered Gaza since Friday had reached northern Gaza, which was “less than half of what Israel agreed on”, Hamdan said from Beirut.

Israel has said 50 trucks with food, water, shelter equipment and medical supplies had deployed to northern Gaza under United Nations supervision.

Qadura Fares, the Palestinian commissioner for prisoners, said Israel had not released detainees by seniority, as was expected.

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