Latest News 01-12-2023 12:12 8 Views

Israel-Hamas war: 8 more Israeli hostages released ahead of cease-fire expiration

Hamas militants released eight more Israeli hostages and three bodies Thursday as a cease-fire with Israel was expected to expire. 

The Israeli military said six Israeli hostages had been released from captivity in the Gaza Strip and transferred to Egypt by the Red Cross late Thursday. They arrived hours after two additional hostages were turned over to Israel separately.

From Egypt, the newly freed hostages were to be transferred to Israel to be reunited with their families after nearly eight weeks in captivity.

The names of Thursday’s freed hostages are as follows: Ayesha Alzyadna, 17; Bilal Alzyadna, 18; Nili Margalit, 41; Mia Schem, 21; Ilana Gritzewsky, 30; Shani Goren, 29; Amit Soussana, 40; and Sapir Cohen, 29. 

Thursday marked the seventh straight night of hostage releases under a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. Israel was to free 30 Palestinian prisoners later in the evening under the deal.

The cease-fire is set to expire early Friday, though international mediators are working to extend it.

Roughly 140 hostages are believed to remain in Hamas captivity.

International pressure has mounted for the truce to continue as long as possible after weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign following Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war. Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and more than three-quarters of the population of 2.3 million have been uprooted, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

Israel has vowed to resume the fighting — with the goal of dismantling Hamas — once the cease-fire ends.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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