A total of eight hostages were released on Thursday, Reuters writes. The different time the hostages were released was due to the fact that they were being held in a different part of the Gaza Strip, CNN reported, citing an Israeli official.
Two hostages handed over by the Palestinian radical movement Hamas to Red Cross workers are now in Israel, the Israeli military has confirmed. Those released are 40-year-old Amit Sousana and 21-year-old Mia Schem, who has French citizenship in addition to Israeli citizenship.
Israel must take steps to protect civilians before launching a military operation in the southern Gaza Strip. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. Blinken added that the Israeli government agrees with this. This is reported by the Reuters agency.
According to Blinken, it is necessary to establish so-called safe zones in the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip, where civilians will be able to take refuge before the fighting. “Israel has… one of the most advanced armies in the world. It is capable of neutralizing the threat posed by Hamas while minimizing harm to innocent men, women and children. And he has an obligation to do so,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv.
At the moment, according to Blinken, the main thing is that all the hostages taken by Hamas can return home, and the United States, together with its partners, is seeking to further extend the temporary ceasefire.