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Updated Nov 26, 2023, 6:12am EST
securityMiddle East

Hamas releases second group of hostages after brief delay

People gather near the Rafah border as Hamas militants are expected to release hostages on Nov. 25
REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
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The News

Hamas released a second group of Israeli hostages following an hours-long delay that stoked fears of a reversal of the temporary ceasefire.

Israel confirmed late Saturday that Hamas had returned 13 Israelis — including 8 children and 5 women.

The civilians were reportedly taken from Gaza to Egypt, then to Israel, where they were taken to hospitals, the Israeli authorities said.

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Thirty-nine Palestinian prisoners were then released, Israel’s prison service said.

Earlier on Saturday, Hamas claimed that Israel failed to follow the terms of a ceasefire deal, which included aid to Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In a statement on Telegram, the militant group said it had decided “to delay the release of the second batch of prisoners until the occupation adheres to the terms of the agreement related to the entry of relief trucks into the northern Gaza Strip, and due to the failure to adhere to the agreed-upon standards for releasing prisoners.”

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A spokesperson for The Israel Defense Forces denied Hamas’ accusations, telling The New York Times, “We are standing by our part of the framework.” The spokesperson said that Hamas had until midnight local time to follow through their side of the agreement.

Qatar, which helped broker the deal alongside Egypt, said that two representing mediators were able to “overcome an impasse,” the New York Times reported late Saturday.

The first day of the ceasefire agreement saw Hamas releasing 24 hostages, — mostly Israeli and Thai citizens — who were reunited with their families on Friday in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners.

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This is a developing story. Please check back soon for updates.

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