Tel Aviv [Israel], November 27 (ANI): Talks over the release of the fourth batch of Israeli hostages by Hamas are facing a delay due to concerns that the proposed list includes separating several children from their mothers, The Times of Israel reported citing an Israeli official.
Israel asserts that the truce with Hamas prohibits such separation, which has occurred once before during the temporary ceasefire.
As the fate of today’s fourth Gaza hostage release remains uncertain, less than an hour before the scheduled release, the Prime Minister’s Office reports that negotiations on the list of hostages are still ongoing. The statement emphasises awareness of the tension among families and urges against spreading rumours or unreliable information.
“We are aware of the tension experienced by the families, and we will add information when this becomes possible,” the statement said, adding, “We request avoiding spreading rumours and unreliable information.”
Israel has widely been reported to take issue with the list of hostages to be freed Monday, the fourth and final group out of 50 Hamas has promised to let go during a four-day truce. The truce can be extended by a day for each 10 additional hostages released.
Ongoing issues in the discussions include ensuring that children on the list are not released without their mothers or grandmothers who may also be in captivity. The deal stipulates that family members should not be separated during the release, a condition already violated by Hamas on Saturday when one hostage was released without her mother, The Times of Israel cited an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson.
Mediated by Qatar, Israel, Hamas, and the United States are working through these issues with the latest list of hostages set to be released on the last day of the four-day truce. Conflicting information about the status of the release has emerged, with one Israeli source claiming no mothers are on the list, while others state at least one mother is included. The uncertainty extends to the release of two American women expected on Monday.
The White House said it’s uncertain if more American hostages will be released from Gaza on Monday. This is the fourth and possibly final day of a truce between Israel and Hamas, CNN reported.
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, told CNN that the administration is working on the situation “literally by the hour” and that they “don’t know” if two American women are set to be released later in the day.
Kirby said, “We’ll have a better sense I think later on this morning who’s going to be in this next batch coming out today. We obviously hope that those two American women are on that list and will be reunited with their families today. That’s certainly our hope.”
He also highlighted the lack of certainty on the whereabouts of any American hostages held by other groups besides Hamas.
The administration doesn’t “have perfect visibility as to where they are and who’s exactly holding them,” he said.
“But we have to keep open the possibility that some other groups other than Hamas might be holding some of those additional Americans,” Kirby added.
The ongoing deal between Israel and Hamas has paved the way for the release of at least 50 women and children held in Gaza, in exchange for the release of at least 150 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.
As the truce enters its fourth day, 40 Israeli hostages have been released by Hamas, with 13 on Friday, 13 on Saturday, and 14 on Sunday, CNN reported.
Released individuals include 21 children aged 18 or younger, 11 adult women, seven women aged 65 or older, and Roni Krivoy, an Israeli-Russian man released as a special case outside the deal parameters.
Besides 18 foreign nationals, including 17 Thai nationals and 1 Filipino citizen, were freed from Gaza in separate negotiations, not covered by the Israel-Hamas deal.
117 women and children released from Israeli prisons, with 39 on Friday, 39 on Saturday, and 39 on Sunday.
Released individuals include 28 adult women, two teenage girls, and 87 male teens aged 18 and younger.
Of the Palestinian prisoners released, 41 had been tried and sentenced, and 76 were in administrative detention.
The original Israel-Hamas deal stipulates that the truce will continue for four days as long as Hamas releases at least 10 Israeli hostages each day. The situation remains fluid, with the White House closely monitoring developments, CNN reported. (ANI)