Hamas releases 13 Israeli hostages, 11 others as cease-fire holds

Hamas releases 13 Israeli hostages, 11 others as cease-fire holds

Hamas, the militant organization in control of the Gaza Strip, released 13 Israeli captives on Sunday, as part of ongoing efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian group.

The prisoners, who had been held by Hamas for years, were released in exchange for the freeing of 11 Hamas prisoners held by Israel.

The releases took place under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross in exchange for a cease-fire that went into effect on Sunday.

The agreement follows two previous rounds of talks between the Israeli government and Hamas, mediated by Egypt, that ended with inconclusive results.

The latest round of negotiations began in October and reportedly included discussions about easing the Israeli blockade of Gaza and addressing inmates’ rights issues.

It’s unclear whether the releases are a permanent arrangement or part of a broader agreement.

The agreement is the latest development in a long-standing conflict between militants in Gaza and Israel that has resulted in thousands of deaths in the region.

The agreement comes as the region remains volatile following recent clashes between protesters and Israeli forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank.