Hamas was preparing to release 14 Israeli hostages Saturday for 42 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, as part of an exchange on the second day of a cease-fire that allowed critical humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and given civilians their first respite after seven weeks of war, Egyptian officials said.
Under the truce agreement, Hamas will release one Israeli hostage for every three prisoners freed, and Israel’s Prison Service had already said earlier Saturday it was preparing 42 prisoners for release, reports the Associated Press.
On the first day of the four-day cease-fire, Hamas released 24 of the about 240 hostages taken during its October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison. Those freed from captivity in Gaza were 13 Israelis, 10 Thais, and a Filipino.
On Saturday, Hamas provided mediators Egypt and Qatar with a list of 14 hostages to be released, and the list has been passed along to Israel, according to an Egyptian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to talk about details of the ongoing negotiations. A second Egyptian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the details.
It was not immediately clear how many non-Israeli captives may also be released.
Overall, Hamas is to release at least 50 Israeli hostages, and Israel 150 Palestinian prisoners during the four-day truce, all women and minors.
Israel has said the truce can be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed — something United States President Joe Biden said he hoped would come to pass.