Israel releases 39 Palestinian prisoners in hostage deal with Hamas
Israel’s release of Palestinian detainees marks a successful start to the hostage exchange after Hamas frees 24 hostages from Gaza.
Israel reportedly released 39 former Palestinian prisoners into the West Bank as part of the hostage deal negotiated with Hamas alongside the temporary ceasefire.
The release of the Palestinian prisoners occurred around the same time that Hamas released 24 hostages being held in Gaza. These hostages had been held as leverage in Gaza since the devastating Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel by Hamas.
This exchange is the first in what is reported to be the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli custody. In exchange, Hamas promised to release a total of 50 hostages back to Israel.
During the hostage exchange, Israel and Hamas are expected to obverse a four-day truce and cease hostilities. There are already difficulties emerging in maintaining the peace. Less than 15 minutes after the truce was set to take effect, Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel, which were intercepted by air defenses, an IDF spokesperson told Newsweek.
The Palestinian prisoners released by Israel reportedly received a celebratory welcome when they arrived in the West Bank on Friday. The released detainees included 24 women, some of whom were convicted over attempted stabbings and attacks on Israeli security forces. 15 of the detainees were young men, charged with offenses varying from stone throwing to supporting terrorism.
Despite President Biden’s diplomatic efforts, no American hostages were released in this first wave. Biden told reporters on Friday that he does not know when the American hostages being held by the terrorist group will be released, but that he is hopeful.
"We don't know when that will occur, but we're going to expect it to occur," Biden reportedly said, according to Fox News Digital.
"We don't know what the list of all the hostages are and when they will be released, but we know the numbers that are going to be released, So, it's my hope and expectation it will be soon," he said.