Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

TWO more Hamas hostages were released last night — as hopes rose that as many as 50 could join them.

Captives with dual citizenship were said to have been earmarked for release — and could include some of the seven Britons believed to be held.

The Nahal Infantry brigade taking part in live firing exercises at their secret desert base 20 miles from GazaDoug Seeburg – The Sun

At 8pm, it emerged Hamas had released two Israeli women — Nurit Yitzhak, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85 — due to ill health.

Israel has held off its ground offensive as talks continued after the release of a US mum and daughter on Saturday.

Qatar has close ties to the terror group’s political leaders.

And a New York Times report said: “A senior Israeli military official said that based on conversations between the United States and Qatar, Hamas could possibly release about 50 dual nationals separate from any broader deal.”

Meanwhile, it also emerged last night that Israeli forces steeling themselves for a bloody assault on Gaza have built a replica village to hone their urban fighting skills.

Commanders ordered scores of mock-dwellings to be erected at a secret desert location near the Hamas stronghold and work was completed in five days.

And The Sun was today granted exclusive access to a live-firing exercise.

Myself and photographer Doug Seeburg were escorted to the site where scores of wooden buildings teemed with troops blazing away with high-tech Tavor assault rifles.

Israeli Defence Force troops as young as 18 told us of their fears, and determination, as they prepared for action.

Hand-picked specialist groups from the IDF’s Nahal Brigade face the most daunting task of storming into densely-packed neighbourhoods infested with heavily-armed terrorists.

One soldier, in his early 20s, toting an Israeli-built Negev machine gun, strung with hundreds of bullets, was among around 50 we watched attacking a mock-Hamas hideout.

The English speaking infantryman said: “We’re a band of brothers and share the same aim in a battle we must win — but we all know that some of us won’t be coming back.

Lt Col Mati Shevach, 37, masterminded the building of the fake city.

He said: “Five days ago this wasn’t here. But it needed to be built to prepare us for the fight to come.

“Learning how to take the fight to the enemy in urban areas is a vital part of our mission.”

The Nahal Infantry brigade practicing room clearances in a special recently built facilityDoug Seeburg – The Sun

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