• Hamas returns 13 Israeli, three Thai and one Russian prisoner, says it is willing to extend truce
• Palestinian farmer killed by Israeli forces in refugee camp; 8 dead in West Bank
JERUSALEM: Israel’s prison service said 39 Palestinian detainees were released on Sunday under the terms of a truce agreement, while Hamas hand over 17 prisoners on the third day of a truce with Israel.
The release of some of the prisoners includes, 13 Israeli prisoners, three Thais and one with Russian citizenship.
Meanwhile, holding a news conference, President Joe Biden said a 4-year-old US citizen was also released. Biden said he hoped the pause in Israeli aggression against Gazans can go on as long as prisoners are getting released. He said he hoped more Americans would be released by Hamas although he did not have firm news.
In addition, a source close to Hamas said the group was willing to extend the current truce with Israel in Gaza for two to four days beyond its initial expiry on Monday.
“Hamas informed the mediators that the resistance movements were willing to extend the current truce by two to four days. The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners,” the source told AFP.
The killing of a Palestinian farmer in the central Gaza Strip had earlier added to concerns over the fragility of the truce.
The farmer was killed when targeted by Israeli forces east of Gaza’s long-established Maghazi refugee camp, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Meanwhile, the Hamas also said on Sunday that four of its military commanders in the Gaza Strip had been killed, including the commander of the North Gaza brigade, Ahmad Al Ghandour. It did not say when they had been killed. Qatar, Egypt and the United States are pressing for the truce to be extended beyond Monday but it is not clear whether that will happen.
Israel had said the ceasefire could be extended if Hamas continued to release at least 10 prisoners a day. A Palestinian source had said up to 100 prisoners could go free.
West bank violence
Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians over a 24-hour period in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Five people were killed by Israeli army fire in Jenin, the ministry said, during an incursion by a large number of armoured vehicles into the city, which was recently the scene of the deadliest Israeli raid in the West Bank in almost 20 years.
Medical sources told AFP 15 people were wounded, while witnesses reported that an Israeli drone had carried out an air strike on Jenin’s refugee camp.
Other witnesses said on Saturday that the Israeli army had surrounded Jenin’s public hospital and the Ibn Sina clinic, and that soldiers were searching ambulances.
The Israeli army said it had arrested the suspected perpetrator of an attack that killed two Israelis in August.
A 25-year-old doctor was killed on Saturday outside his home in Qabatiya, near Jenin, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
A Palestinian was also killed in El-Bireh, near the city of Ramallah, and another during an Israeli army raid on a village south of Nablus, it said.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2023