Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

THE Red Cross has confirmed that two more hostages held in Gaza have now been released by Hamas.

Two women have been freed by the Palestinian militant group but there has been no confirmation from Israeli authorities.

APGaza City has been left in pieces following spates of air strikes[/caption]

ReutersTheir release comes as tanks have been seen gathered near the border with the Gaza Strip[/caption]

Israeli troops at the border ahead of a ground invasionEPA

The Israeli duo were released for “compelling humanitarian” reasons following mediation by Qatar and Egypt

Abu Obaida, the spokesman for the Hamas‘ armed wing said: “We decided to release them for humanitarian and poor health grounds … Despite that, the enemy refused to receive them last Friday”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that it “facilitated the release of two more hostages by transporting them out of Gaza this evening.”

They added: “Our role as a neutral intermediary between the warring parties makes this work possible.

“We are ready to visit the remaining hostages and to facilitate any future release.

“We are glad that these persons will be soon reunited with their families and loved ones.”

The Israeli military has claimed there are 222 hostages currently being held captive in Gaza following the brutal October 7 massacre.

The key Hamas negotiator, Khaled Meshaal, has revealed to Sky News that the group being held captive inside Gaza will be released if Israel reduces the intensity of bombing Gaza.

“Let them stop this aggression and you will find the mediators like Qatar and Egypt and some Arab countries and others will find a way to have them released and we’ll send them to their homes,” he said.

Meshaal said the hostages cannot be freed while Israel’s air offensive remains so intense.

It follows the release of two Americans on October 20.

Judith Raanan and her teenage daughter Natalie were released by Hamas as fears grew around a full-scale invasion.

The mother-daughter duo – understood to be around 60 and 17 respectively – were believed to have travelled from Chicago to Nahal Oz kibbutz in Israel for a family member’s birthday when the horror attacks began on October 7.

A photo released showed the moment they were escorted back across the border by troops.

Last week Ubaida said the two US hostages had been freed for “humanitarian reasons”.

He added the release was “to prove to the American people and the world that the allegations of Biden and his fascist administration are false allegations that have no basis in truth.”

It’s feared many of the hostages – both Israeli and non-Israeli citizens – are being held in Hamas’ mysterious 311-mile maze of tunnels underground.

US President Joe Biden said he was “overjoyed” by the news of the women’s release.

He said: “Our fellow citizens have endured a terrible ordeal these past 14 days, and I am overjoyed that they will soon be reunited with their family, who has been wracked with fear.

“As I told those families [of the hostages] when I spoke with them last week – we will not stop until we get their loved ones home.

“As president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans held hostage around the world.”

Rishi Sunak said he was also pleased to hear the news of Judith and Natalie’s return.

The PM said: “I welcome the release of two US hostages in Gaza and thank Qatar for their leadership on this issue.

“I discussed efforts to free hostages with Amir Tamim Bin Hamad
today and we will continue to work tirelessly with Qatar, Israel, and others to ensure all hostages come home safely.”

Discussions are “ongoing” for the release of further hostages from Gaza, a source close to the negotiations told news agency Reuters.

Twitter/@usembassyjlmJudith Raanan and her teenage daughter Natalie were released by Hamas on October 20[/caption]

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