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Photo from the evening before: Waiting people wave to a helicopter with Israeli flags that is supposed to bring released hostages

Photo: Ronen Zvulun / REUTERS

The Islamist Hamas has handed over a group of hostages in the Gaza Strip to employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This was announced on Saturday by both the terrorist organization and the Israeli military. According to Hamas, 13 Israelis and seven foreign nationals were handed over. Qatar's foreign ministry, on the other hand, said there were only four foreigners. A confirmation from the Red Cross was initially pending.

Just hours before the release of the hostages, Hamas had unexpectedly halted a last-minute surrender. The reason given by the terrorist organization was that, in its view, Israel had violated part of the hostage deal. After Qatari intervened, Hamas relented late in the evening.

In addition to a four-day ceasefire on both sides, the agreement included the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and the delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip. Since the ceasefire began on Friday, 200 trucks have arrived in the Gaza Strip with urgently needed humanitarian infrastructure, including fuel, medicine and food.

In return, 39 Palestinian prisoners were to be released from Israeli jails in the evening. According to Hamas, six of them are women and 33 male youths under the age of 19.

On Friday, 39 Palestinian inmates of Israeli prisons were released in exchange for <> Israeli hostages, following the entry into force of a ceasefire of at least four days. In addition, independently of the agreement between Israel and Hamas, eleven foreigners held hostage by other Islamists in the Gaza Strip were also released.