Hamas released 10 Israeli hostages and two Thai nationals on Tuesday as the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continued into a fifth day, raising the total number of captives released to 85. Roughly 240 hostages were captured on Oct. 7, when Hamas led devastating raids into Israel and killed about 1,200 people, according to the Israeli authorities.
Tuesday’s release followed the return of 11 Israelis on Monday, 13 on Sunday, 13 on Saturday and 13 on Friday, nearly all of them women or children. Seventeen Thais, one Filipino and one Russian-Israeli dual citizen were also released through separate negotiations. Four other hostages were released before the cease-fire.
Israel has freed 180 imprisoned Palestinians — roughly three for every Israeli hostage released — in exchange for the release of the hostages.
At least four hostages have died in captivity, according to Israel and Hamas. Israeli officials said that three — a 19-year-old soldier, Noa Marciano; Yehudit Weiss, 65; and Ravid Katz, 51 — were killed by their captors. Arye Zalmanovich, 86, died after suffering a heart attack, Hamas has said.
Israel and Hamas agreed on Monday to extend their truce to six days — through at least Wednesday — to allow for the release of more Israeli hostages and imprisoned Palestinians, and for more humanitarian aid to flow into the Gaza Strip, where thousands of Gazans have been killed and conditions for the living have deteriorated to the point of catastrophe.
Since the cease-fire began, Israel has continued its escalation of nighttime raids in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, arresting at least 71 more Palestinians since Nov. 24, according to the Israeli military. The Palestinian Authority’s commission for prisoner affairs put the number of those arrested at 112 or more, including women, children and older people.