Enlarge image

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu (center) talks to soldiers of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited his troops in the Gaza Strip three days after the ceasefire began. He had exchanged views with soldiers and commanders and had been briefed on the security situation, his office said. "Nothing will stop us. We are convinced that we have the strength, the power, the will and the determination to achieve all the goals of the war, and that is exactly what we will do," Netanyahu told the soldiers.

"We are making every effort to bring back our hostages, and at the end of the day, we will bring back every single one of them," Netanyahu said ahead of the latest hostage release.

"We will carry on until the end—until victory." It is a matter of "eliminating Hamas and ensuring that the Gaza Strip does not again become a threat to the State of Israel."

It is unclear exactly where he was during his first visit to the Gaza Strip since the war began. According to his office, during the visit he also looked at a tunnel of the Islamist Hamas that had been uncovered by the soldiers.

In the afternoon, the third group of hostages kidnapped by Hamas in the Gaza Strip was released. "According to information from the Red Cross, 14 Israeli hostages and three foreign hostages were handed over to the Red Cross," the Israeli army said. According to Israeli television, the Israelis were nine children and four women. Hamas itself spoke of 13 Israelis, three Thais and one Russian.

The ceasefire agreed between Israel and Hamas is expected to last until at least Tuesday morning. During this period, 30 children, eight mothers and 150 other women kidnapped by the Islamists are to be exchanged for <> Palestinian women and adolescents in Israeli prisons. Accordingly, for every hostage released on Sunday, three Palestinian prisoners were to be released from Israeli custody on Sunday.