New Delhi: A major breakthrough has been achieved in the ongoing ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as both sides exchanged hostages on Wednesday. Israel has released 30 Palestinian prisoners, while Hamas has released 12 Israeli hostages, who were held captive since October 7.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the release of the hostages to the Red Cross and said that they were in good condition. The IDF also thanked the mediators and the international community for their efforts to secure the release of the hostages.
The Palestinian prisoners, who were released by Israel, included 15 men and 15 women. They were transported by buses to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where they were welcomed by their families and supporters. The prisoners were also greeted by Hamas officials and representatives of other Palestinian factions.
The hostage exchange was part of an agreement reached between Israel and Hamas for a temporary ceasefire, which started on Saturday. The agreement was brokered by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations, with the aim of ending the violence and easing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The ceasefire is expected to be extended for two more days
The ceasefire, which was initially supposed to last for four days, is expected to be extended for two more days, according to Israeli media reports. The mediators have met in Qatar to try to extend the ceasefire and to discuss the possibility of a long-term truce.
The ceasefire has brought a halt to the hostilities that erupted on October 6, when Hamas fired rockets at Israel, in response to the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from a high-security Israeli jail. Israel retaliated with airstrikes and ground operations, targeting Hamas militants and infrastructure in Gaza.
The conflict, which lasted for 11 days, claimed the lives of at least 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and injured hundreds more. The conflict also caused widespread damage and destruction in Gaza and disrupted the supply of electricity, water, and fuel. The conflict also triggered protests and clashes in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel, where tensions were high between Jews and Arabs.
The hostage exchange is seen as a positive sign of peace
The hostage exchange is seen as a positive sign for peace and reconciliation between Israel and Hamas, who have been engaged in a long-standing conflict over the disputed territory of Gaza. The hostage exchange is also seen as a gesture of goodwill and humanitarianism, as both sides have shown respect and compassion for the lives of the hostages.
The hostage exchange is also seen as a result of the diplomatic efforts and pressure from the international community, who have called for an end to the violence and a resumption of the peace talks. The international community has also pledged to provide humanitarian and financial assistance to Gaza and to support the reconstruction and development of the enclave.
The hostage exchange is also seen as an opportunity for both sides to build trust and confidence, and to address the underlying issues and grievances that fuel the conflict. The issues include the blockade of Gaza, the security of Israel, the status of Jerusalem, the fate of the Palestinian refugees, and the prospects of a two-state solution.