The Israel Prison Service announced the release of 30 Palestinians last night as part of the fifth prisoner exchange under the truce agreement with Hamas. According to both the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and the IPS, the 15 women and 15 boys released were being held in Ofer Prison, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, as well as in a detention centre in Jerusalem. Moreover, the women were all detained after 7 October, reported Al Jazeera.
The move followed the release of 10 Israelis and two Thai nationals, who have since returned to Israel. This brings the total number of freed captives to 86 of around 240 people taken to the Gaza Strip after the 7 October Hamas-led attack on Israel. The total number of Palestinians freed under the deal now stands at 180.
A four-day humanitarian truce began on Friday following Qatar-Egypt-US mediation, and was extended on Monday for an additional two days. Among its provisions were a temporary ceasefire, an exchange of prisoners, and the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
Discussions are currently taking place in Qatar to reach a new agreement for a long-term truce that includes the release of all prisoners of war held in Gaza, including soldiers, and Israel’s release of Palestinian detainees held in military prisons.
Israel launched an air and ground offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza after the Hamas attack on Israeli army barracks and settlements in the vicinity of Gaza on 7 October. The resistance fighters crossed the nominal border into the occupation state and took around 240 hostages. Since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopter gunships and tanks of the Israel Defence Forces had in fact killed many of the 1,200 soldiers and civilians alleged by Israel to have been killed by Hamas.
The apartheid occupation state has since killed more than 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza, 6,150 of whom were children, and 4,000 of whom were women. More than 36,000 people have been wounded by the Israeli offensive, and at least 7,000 are thought to be buried under the rubble of their homes destroyed by Israeli bombs. The death toll is expected to rise as hopes fade of finding anyone alive under the rubble.