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GAZA/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Hamas has freed 12 more hostages, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday, the fifth day of an extended six-day truce agreed between the Palestinian group and Israel in the Gaza war.

Israel’s amilitary confirmed that all 12 - comprising 10 Israeli citizens and two foreign nationals - were now with its special forces on Israeli territory.

The hostages were among some 240 people seized by Hamas gunmen during a rampage into southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which they killed 1,200 people.

Hamas frees more Israeli hostages, Palestinian official says

Israel in return free 30 Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails - 15 women and 15 teenage males, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, a semi-official organisation.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry of Qatar, which is mediating in the conflict, said the freed Israeli hostages included nine women and one minor.

Some of the hostages were handed over by the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, it said on Telegram.

The truce has brought Gaza its first respite after seven weeks of intensive Israeli bombardment prompted by the Hamas attack.

Gaza health authorities say more than 15,000 people have been confirmed killed in the Israeli onslaught on the Hamas-ruled territory, about 40% of them children, with many more dead feared to be lost under rubble.

The truce had been due to expire overnight into Tuesday but both sides agreed to extend the pause to allow for the release of more hostages held by Hamas and of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

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