More hostages, prisoners released on fifth day of Gaza truce

AFP

Hamas freed 12 more hostages and Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday, the fifth day of an extended six-day truce in the Gaza war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the 12 hostages had been transferred from Gaza, and Israel's military confirmed that the 10 Israeli citizens and two foreign nationals were with its special forces on Israeli territory.

Israel said it freed 30 Palestinian detainees from Ofer Prison in the West Bank and a detention centre in Jerusalem. 

A spokesman for the foreign ministry of Qatar, which is mediating in the conflict, said the freed Israeli hostages included nine women and one minor. Two Thai nationals were also released.

The truce had been due to expire overnight into Tuesday but both sides agreed to extend the pause to allow for the release of more hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Israel has said the truce could be prolonged further, providing Hamas continues to free at least 10 Israeli hostages per day. 

The total number of hostages released by Hamas since the start of the truce last Friday now stands at 81, including 60 Israelis - all women and children - and 21 foreign nationals, many of them Thai farm workers.

Israel had freed 150 prisoners before Tuesday's releases.

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