Second Group of Hostages to Be Freed after Hamas Balks; Egypt, Qatar Mediate

Second Group of Hostages to Be Freed after Hamas Balks; Egypt, Qatar Mediate

Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty

The second group of Israeli hostages will be released Saturday evening, after the Palestinian terror group Hamas balked, Israel threatened to end its military pause before the agreed four-day period, and Egypt and Qatar intervened to resolve the crisis.

According to Israel’s Army Radio, 13 Israeli hostages will be released, along with seven foreign workers who were also taken hostage by Hamas during its unprovoked terror attack on October 7, during which it murdered more than 1,200 people.

In return, Israel will release 39 Palestinian women and teenagers who have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Unlike the Israeli hostages, the Palestinian prisoners being released are not innocent; many had attempted to murder Israeli civilians.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israelis to be released include eight children and five women abducted during the October 7 terror attack; the Palestinian convicts to be released include 33 minors and six women, all convicted of terrorism-related offenses.

The crisis began Saturday evening when Hamas refused to let the 13 hostages go, accusing Israel of violating a verbal agreement that Palestinian prisoners with longer sentences would be released first. Israel claimed that Hamas broke a verbal commitment first not to split families in the release of hostages.

According to Israeli media, Israel threatened to call off then entire deal and resume military operations if Hamas did not deliver the hostages by midnight. The families of the 13 hostages to be released had already been informed and were waiting at the hospital that was to receive the hostages upon their transfer from Gaza.

A crowd of 100,000 that had gathered in Tel Aviv at a square known as “Square of the Hostages” or “Kidnapped Square” to watch the news on television and to rally for the hostages’ release, amid suspense about whether the releases would continue at all.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – NOVEMBER 25: Families of hostages and their supporters participate in the ‘50 Days of Hell’ rally in support of the 212 hostages that are still being held by Hamas, as another 13 Israeli hostages are supposed to be released from Gaza and brought back to Israel, during the second day of the temporary truce, outside The Museum of Modern Art known as the ‘The Hostages and Missing Square’ on November 25, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. According to event organizers 50,000 people were expected to attend with organized buses from around the country, as well as flights with the displaced families staying in Eilat of hostages from the communities around the Gaza Envelope.A total of 50 hostages currently held by Hamas are to be released during a four-day truce with Israel, the first such pause in fighting since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched its surprise attack and Israeli responded with a vast military offensive to destroy the militant group that governs Gaza. Under the deal, 150 Palestinian prisoners are also to be released from Israel, and more humanitarian aid will be admitted at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Close to 200 hostages remain in Gaza, including infants and the elderly, all taken and held in violation of international law.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.  » …
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