Hamas releases two more hostages in Gaza

New Delhi, Oct 24: Hamas has released two hostages, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, bringing the total number of hostages released by the group to four. Last Friday, the American-Israeli mother-daughter duo, Judith and Natalie Raanan, were also freed.

This latest release took place on Monday night, following mediation efforts involving Egypt and Qatar, similar to the previous hostage release that was negotiated through Qatari mediation. The International Committee of the Red Cross played a pivotal role in facilitating the transfer of these hostages.

Sharone Lifshitz, the daughter of one of the hostages, remains dedicated to securing the release of her father and the other hostages still held in Gaza., media reported. She emphasized the importance of their safe return, stating, “While I cannot express the relief of knowing that my mother is now safe, my focus remains on securing the release of my father and the roughly 200 innocent individuals who are still being held in Gaza.”

A video released by the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm, captured the emotional moment when Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz were released. The two elderly women were handed over to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the darkness of the night.

The release of these hostages sheds light on the ongoing situation in the region, with Israel reporting that 222 individuals are still being held by Hamas following their surprise attack on Israel on October 7th. International efforts to secure the release of all hostages remain a priority.

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Gaza Aid Delivery and Ongoing Conflict

Meanwhile, on Monday, the United Nations (UN) reported that 20 aid trucks made their way into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. Half of these trucks were loaded with vital supplies like medicine, food, and water. Notably, fuel was absent from these aid deliveries. The UN expressed concern, stating that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the primary source of humanitarian fuel in Gaza, is on the verge of depleting its fuel reserves within the next two days. This fuel shortage threatens critical services, particularly water desalination operations, which rely on fuel to function effectively.

Over the weekend, 34 trucks entered Gaza to provide essential aid. The situation in Gaza remains dire, with an estimated 1.4 million people internally displaced. UNRWA-run shelters have been stretched far beyond their intended capacity, exceedingly more than 2.5 times their usual occupancy.

The region continues to suffer from ongoing violence. On October 7th, an attack near Gaza resulted in the loss of over 1,400 Israeli lives, as civilians were targeted and killed in their homes, on the streets, and even at a music festival. In response to these attacks, Israel initiated a bombing campaign, causing significant destruction, particularly in southern Gaza. According to Gaza’s health ministry, the toll of casualties on the Palestinian side has climbed to over 5,000 people since the onset of this conflict.

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