Hamas on Wednesday handed over 16 more hostages — including 12 Israelis — on the last day of an extended cease-fire with Israel.
The latest round of hostages included a group of 10 Israeli women and children, and four Thai nationals. Hamas handed over the hostages to the Israeli military late Wednesday. Their release was expected to be followed by Israel freeing 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Two Russian-Israeli women were also freed earlier Wednesday evening after being held captive by Hamas, and have arrived back in Israel.
The names of Wednesday’s hostages are as follows: Liat Beinin Atzili, 49; Raaya Rotem, 54; Raz Ben Ami, 57; Yarden Roman Gat, 36; Moran Stela Yanai, 40; Liam Or, 18; Ofir Engel, 18; Amit Shani, 16; Gali Tarshansky, 13; and Itay Regev, 18.
The Russian-Israeli women are Irena Tatti, 73, and Elena Trufanova, 50.
As of Wednesday, Hamas has released 60 Israeli women and children 21 people of other nationalities. There are believed to be 159 hostages still in the custody of Hamas or other terrorist groups.
The latest released hostages were expected to undergo an initial medical assessment. IDF soldiers were to stay with them until they could be reunited with their families.
The cease-fire, which began Friday, was expected to expire Monday, but was extended two more days. International mediators are working to extend the cease-fire again before it expires once again.
Israel has agreed to extend the truce by one day for every 10 militant-held hostages who are freed. However, Israel has vowed to resume the war in an effort to end Hamas’ 16-year rule of Gaza, but it’s facing mounting international pressure to extend the truce and spare southern Gaza a devastating ground offensive like the one that has demolished much of the north.
Roughly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that ignited the war. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza. About 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mostly during the initial incursion by Hamas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.